How to Improve Your English For Free

Posted on January 3, 2019

By Emily Stallard, owner of Orchid English

We often get asked how students can supplement their English classes at their companies and improve their English for free. If you live in London you are already at a huge advantage having English all around you. But how do you absorb all that English effectively? Here are some ideas to improve your English for free.

Use The Media to Your Advantage

Free online resources

The British Council has a great podcast and video section for different levels of English, with subtitles.

Try some fun online classes with which include videos and skills like reading and listening.


Reading is a great way to build your vocabulary and isn’t as stressful as speaking can be. If you know more about current affairs it will enable you to chat with native speakers more easily, as well as understanding more about British culture.

These days we have more time for reading. I don’t have a Kindle and now we can’t get out to the library. Did you know there is a way to read Kindle books on your computer? It’s called Kindle Cloud Reader. There are lots of free Kindle books and you can read them straight away on your computer.

TV and Films

Watch TV and films in English. Like reading, this is a stress-free way to study. Because English spelling often doesn’t accurately reflect a word’s pronunciation (or is entirely treacherous), listening is a great way to improve your pronunciation.

Use subtitles if the accent is unfamiliar, or if the subject is very complicated. Some people say it helps to watch films they have already seen in their own language. Dramas, reality TV or soaps tend to have simpler language.


I always used to love watching makeover videos on YouTube where the presenter tries and reviews different cosmetics and different looks. Recently it occured to me that I could practise my Spanish by searching for makeover videos in Spanish. It’s great! I’m so engaged in the topic that I can watch several without losing my concentration on the language. What YouTube videos do you watch in your own language, that you could try in English?

English with Lucy is a very popular YouTube channel for learning English online. There are tons of interesting videos made by Lucy who is very engaging and knows her stuff. Lucy has a lovely clear accent for learning British English.


Listen to radio programmes in English such as the BBC World Service, which offers free podcasts such as their excellent 30 minute world news podcast twice a day.

Two Top Techniques to Learn English for Free

Noting Down

When you come across a new word in English, write it down. Even if you can’t quite remember it, do your best. If you understand the word you can even write it in your own language and then look the word up in the dictionary later. Keep a little notebook with you to look over on the tube, at breaks at work or at other free times.

Ask for Corrections

Ask your British friends and colleagues to correct your English when you speak in private. British people are usually very hesitant to correct the English of a non-native speaker for fear of seeming xenophobic, so explain that you would really like to improve your English. You may need to insist! Discover how to get people to correct your English here.

Good luck, and let us know your thoughts on how to improve your English for free, too.

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