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Is It “Who” or “Whom”? Five Great Ways to Beef Up Your English Skills

Written by Kelsey Levins

Do you often confuse “they’re”, “there”, and “their”? Have you ever struggled to find another word for “running”? Worry not, for this vocabulary and grammar guide is here to help.

Communication skills are of increasing importance in both the academic and professional world, but mastering the English language can be difficult. Some find themselves questioning, “How do I use a semicolon—is it just a sad version of a colon?” It’s all rather confusing. Luckily, there are plenty of fun and simple ways to improve your vocabulary and grammar skills. By utilizing these five tips for improving your language skills, you’ll be the life of any party in no time. Well, almost any party.

Put Your Vocab to the Test With FreeRice.com

This website won’t give you free rice, unfortunately, but it’s an amazing way to improve your vocabulary and even your aptitude in subjects like math and art history. It’s seriously addicting and a fun way to develop your language skills. The organization that runs this website donates rice to the United Nations World Food Program for every correct answer on the site, so your education helps those suffering from hunger and poverty. And really, not much can top being educated and charitable at once.

Exercise Your Brain on Elevate

This award-winning free app, available on the App Store and the Play Store, is filled with mind games that will have your competitive side spurred for days on end. With so many games available in so many categories, such as reading, listening, and spelling, honing your communication skills has never been this easy. Once summer hits, we all tend to stop thinking and start drinking (um, lemonade), but this app will keep your brain wheels turning all summer. By using Elevate regularly, your mind will be prepared for anything once September hits.

Read The Oatmeal’s Side-Splitting Grammar Comics

The Oatmeal is an online comic strip known not only for its downright hilariousness, but also for its specialty in teaching grammar. The Oatmeal will instruct you in the proper uses of a semi-colon with the help of a gorilla in a party hat, as well as clear up several other grammatical misconceptions accompanied by graphic hilarity.

Oui, Monsieur! Become a Polyglot With Duolingo

It may seem counterintuitive to learn another language while trying to improve your English vocabulary and grammar, but by learning a language from scratch, you are forced to learn grammar in a new way that you can also apply to English. And because English has commonalities with so many other languages, learning new words in foreign languages can improve your English vocabulary, too. Studying Latin or Greek is a great way to learn vocabulary and grammar because of the amount of English words that derive from these ancient languages—not to mention that their strict grammatical rules will have you rethinking every sentence you’ve ever written. Although Duolingo doesn’t offer ancient languages yet, it does have French, Spanish, Italian, German, and more.

As with Everything, Research and Practice

Ever see a word you don’t know and just skim right over it? Me, too! But if you stop and look that word up, it’s guaranteed that you’ll begin to notice it everywhere. By using dictionaries and thesauruses to research obscure words, you are actively retaining the bizarre lingo you normally have trouble remembering, and you’re beefing up your vocabulary in the process. To improve your skills even more, practice new words by memorizing their uses and definitions. It may be awkward at first, but the more words you master, the more you’ll feel like you should have a monocle and champagne glass everywhere you go.

Image by Brett Jordan

What are you go-to sites for helping improve your spelling and grammar? Add them below!

*Opinions expressed are those of the author, and not necessarily those of Student Life Network or their partners.