Online resources for vocabulary work

English is full of complicated words, collocations, phrasal verbs, and idioms. Their learning requires time, patience and hard work.  But how to make the procedure entertaining, motivating and full of fun? There are numerous online resources that offer us different ways and opportunities to learn and practice English vocabulary. Here we introduce these resources including applications to spice up the process of learning new words. 

Learning Chocolate

The website offers practice on different categories of vocabulary. It can be suitable for all ages and levels depending on the learner’s needs. First, students select the category, then they study the words of the unit and finally they test themselves through matching, listening, reading and typing exercises. This online vocabulary platform is also great for self-study.


Here you can find lots of vocabulary puzzles and crosswords on various themes, such as holidays, sport,  English literature, Social studies&History, etc. Among the puzzles, there are synonym and antonym exercises, matching the words with definitions, etc. I find it very effective to use this resource for some flipped classroom activities. Let’s assume that the upcoming lesson is based on the topic of “Thanksgiving” and we are going to have lots of discussions with new words. So I choose the target vocabulary and assign it as homework. Learning and practicing the new words for the coming lesson at home will save your time, make the learning process easier and more effective. 

Describing words

This is a perfect tool to enlarge students’ vocabulary concentrating mainly on adjectives. Learners need to type the word they want to describe on the search line and the system will bring all the possible options. The latter can be categorised either by usage frequency or by uniqueness.  The resource is highly recommended to use while teaching descriptive and narrative essay writing. First, you can provide your students with a sample of a descriptive essay, then ask them to read it and underline the nouns. Afterwards, they try to find other adjectives that can fit properly to the nouns in the given context. This way they will enlarge their vocabulary and more word-combinations will come out.

The website provides lots of different ways in which ESL learners can not only find the meaning of the word but also learn and have practice with them. Here you can find daily crossword puzzles, quizzes, most frequent slangs and their meanings, etc. The website is highly recommended for advanced learners or those who are preparing for language exams. It is extremely handy for self-study.

If you are teaching beginner or elementary students, then this is probably what you and they need – illustrations and definitions of not only different categories of words but also of grammar material, such as prepositions and punctuation marks. This is a kind of picture dictionary that will properly fit visual learners. It may serve a perfect tool for introducing new vocabulary, as it has colourful illustrations and explanations. After you pre-teach them the new vocabulary, you can also take a screenshot of them and print out. Just cut out the definitions and use the pictures as flashcards to check their understanding. 

Synonyms Quiz (App store) 

Synonyms Quiz contains a vocabulary of more than 3800 words (nouns, verbs, and adjectives). You can find an accurate definition for every word at the end of each game. It is a very helpful resource while preparing for language tests, such as TOEFL, IELTS, GMAT, GRE, etc. The application can be nicely used for self-study, as it comes with numerous quizzes with keys. 

English Idioms Illustrated (App store) 

You will find 250 English idioms in this application. The idioms are illustrated with pictures and explanations. It is really very useful for learning the idioms, however, there are no exercises to practise them in this application. 

English phrasal verbs in use (App store)

200 phrasal verbs are included in this app. It provides cards for learning the idioms, matching exercises and tests for practising them. 

Choose one of the resources that will fit your students’ age, interests, needs and level. Thus making the process of learning vocabulary full of fun and interest. 

What online resources for vocabulary work do you use in your classes?

Вероника Аветисян

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