3 Free Online Spelling Education Resources for English Language Learners

Most English language learners will tell you that learning to speak English is difficult, but it's nowhere near as difficult as learning how to spell English words. This is mostly because there are so many spelling variations for the few sounds in the English language. One might not assume that cry, high, pie, and alibi would all share the long i sound and rhyme, but they do. This is just one example of how tricky the English language can be in terms of spelling and the sounds our letters and letter combinations make.

Unless you're an extremely talented visual learner who can instantly memorize the spelling of each word you read, you may be struggling to learn how to spell English words well. If this is the case, here are a few online spelling education resources you should check out.

BBC Skillswise Spelling
BBC Skillswise Spelling

BBC Skillwise is a collection of online educational materials that includes an extensive collection of English spelling resources. When you navigate to the spelling section of BBC Skillwise, you'll find videos, games, and quizzes to help you learn more about plurals, root words, commonly used letter patterns, and words that are particularly difficult to read and spell.

If you're looking for a spelling education resource geared toward adults, you'll love what BBC Skillswise has to offer.

Art of Spelling
Art of Spelling

The Art of Spelling helps you learn how to spell over 20,000 English words in its easy-to-follow and fun lessons. In each of this free website's lessons, you're given a handful of words to spell. These words are pronounced for you, and the Art of Spelling system lets you know whether or not you've spelled them correctly.

If you want a lot of exposure to the correct spelling of English words, Art of Spelling won't disappoint you.


If you find learning to spell English words from a textbook or dictionary to be dull, you'll adore the free games and fun online activities SpellingCity has to offer. Many of SpellingCity's games are meant for kids, but that doesn't mean they won't entertain adults too. Try out the Speedy Speller game to challenge yourself to spell quickly, and make sure you take some of the spelling tests offered by SpellingCity to test your spelling knowledge.

Go on and visit SpellingCity to learn with its funny games and online activities.

Try out the websites listed above, and you'll be spelling words like "onomatopoeia" and "bougainvillea" as well as becoming a spelling champion in no time!

This is a guest post written by Alvina Lopez. Alvina is a freelance writer and blogging extraordinaire for seven years, she now mainly contributes her expertise about online colleges to accreditedonlinecolleges.com. Her ultimate goal is to help future students discover their potential by enrolling in the right program for them. She also writes about trends in education, personal finance, and sustainable living. She loves getting feedback from her readers at alvina.lopez@gmail.com.
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Phrasal verbs with 'give'

Give something away = to give something to someone for free e.g. I gave my old jeans away as they were too small for me.

Give something away = to tell someone a secret by mistake e.g. She gave the surprise party away by parking her car in front of the house.

Give someone away = to take a bride to her husband at church e.g. Her uncle gave her away as her father had died.

Give something back = to return it e.g. She gave me back the DVD that I lent her.

Give someone something back = to return a lost quality/ability e.g. The operation gave him his eyesight back.

Give in = to finally agree to what someone wants e.g. After he had been nagging me all night to go to the office party, I finally gave in.

Give in = to accept defeat e.g. There was no point in competing any longer so he gave in.

Give something in = to hand in written work e.g. The lecturer told us to give our assignment in by Friday.

Give in to something = to accept an emotion/desire e.g. I wanted to eat something sweet all day and I gave in to that bar of chocolate.

Give off something = to produce gas, heat, light, smell e.g. That stove gives off a bad smell.

Give of yourself = to give time/money without expecting anything back e.g. She gives so much of her free time to helping out at the shelter.

Give something out = to provide something to many people e.g. When is the company going to give out those samples?

Give out something = to make a sound e.g. He gave out a loud sigh and went back to work.

Give up something = to stop an unhealthy habit e.g. He gave up smoking and feels much better.

Give up doing something = to stop completing something as it is difficult e.g. She gave up studying to be a doctor and studied art instead.

Give up = to stop looking for an answer to a joke/question e.g. I give up! I don’t know the population of China.

Give yourself up = to allow the police to catch you e.g. The bank robbers gave themselves up after a long chase.

Give someone up = to leave a baby in someone else’s care e.g. They couldn’t look after the baby so they gave it up.

Give up on someone/something = to stop hoping that someone will do what you want them to do e.g. I don’t think he will ever go to university. I’ve given up on him.
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Phrasal verbs with 'fall'

Fall apart = to experience emotional problems e.g. He fell apart when his girlfriend left him.

Fall back on = to use something when there is no other choice e.g. If we don’t save we won’t have anything to fall back on when there is a financial crisis.

Fall behind someone = to stay behind e.g. The others were running too fast and she fell behind.

Fall behind something = to not meet a deadline e.g. Building the stadium has fallen behind schedule.

Fall down / fall over = to fall to the ground e.g. The athlete tripped on the hurdle and fell down.

Fall over = to fall onto its side e.g. I bumped into the tray and it fell over spilling all the drinks on the floor.

Fall for = to be attracted to someone e.g. I think I’m falling for him.

Fall for something = to be tricked into believing something untrue e.g. I can’t believe they fell for it and had all their money stolen.

Fall into = to belong to a category e.g. Animals fall into many different categories.

Fall under = to be included in a particular group e.g. That piece falls under the subheading of Art.

Fall on something = to happen on a certain day/date e.g. New Year falls on a Monday this year.

Fall on someone = to be responsible for something e.g. The job of collecting the trash falls on the local municipality.

Fall out = to argue e.g. I left the flat after falling out with my flatmates.

Fall out = to lose hair/teeth e.g. My son’s first tooth fell out last week.

Fall through = fails to happen e.g. Our plan to get married in spring fell through.
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Phrasal Verbs with 'cut'

Cut across/through something = to move from one side of an area to another in order to get somewhere quickly e.g. We cut across the woods to get to our car faster.

Cut back something = to reduce the amount of money being spent on something e.g. To recover from the recession many European Union countries have to cut back on their spending.

Cut something down = to make it fall to the ground e.g. They’ve cut down that old olive tree.

Cut something down = to reduce the amount, size or length of something e.g. You need to cut down your dissertation as it’s too long.

Cut down = to eat or drink less of something unhealthy e.g. My children need to cut down on the amount of sweets they eat daily.

Cut in = to suddenly drive in front of someone e.g. A car cut in front of us and we almost had an accident.

Cut in = to interrupt a couple dancing to dance with one of them e.g. May I cut in?

Cut in = to interrupt a conversation e.g. He suddenly cut in to say a policeman was giving us a ticket.

Cut something off = to stop providing it e.g. The electricity supply was cut off in certain areas to save energy.

Cut someone off = to prevent people from reaching or leaving an area e.g. Due to the snow storm we were cut off.

Cut someone off = to stop talking to someone e.g. She cut herself off completely after her divorce.

Cut someone off = when a telephone conversation breaks e.g. I couldn’t finish what I was saying as I got cut off.

Cut something out = to cut a shape into paper or cloth e.g. Can you cut out that picture of Lady Gaga?

Cut something out = to remove part of a piece of writing e.g. You need to cut out that part where you are providing a personal opinion.

Cut someone out = to not let someone share something e.g. If you cut the middleman out, you will make a higher profit.

Cut it out! = stop doing something annoying e.g. Cut it out! I want to watch this show.

Cut out for something = to have the right qualities e.g. You’re brilliant with children, you are cut out to be a teacher.

Cut through something = to deal with a problem fast e.g. Once we had cut through all the bureaucracy we were able to get our passport in a matter of days.

Cut something up = to cut it into small pieces e.g. The teacher cut up the note and threw it away.

Cut up = to be very upset about something e.g. He was pretty cut up when his girlfriend left him.
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General Training - Model Answer (Task 1)

Write a letter to a friend about a museum that you have visited. You should say: 
  • where you went
  • what you saw there
  • how you felt about it
 Dear Parveen,
I hope all is well with you and your family. I’m still on holiday in China and I wanted to tell you about the wonderful museum I visited yesterday in Shanghai.
The Shanghai Museum is in the city centre and the building looks like a cooking pot. It has four floors and each one has a different exhibition. Even though it was so crowded I still managed to see all the exhibits using an English audio guide. The collection included bronze sculptures, ceramics, calligraphy, seals, coins and artefacts of ethnic Chinese minorities.
I found the museum extremely interesting especially the display on ceramics and how they were made and the clothes worn by the minorities which were shown on the fourth floor. I even bought a book for you at the souvenir shop on Chinese art and culture which I will give you when we meet.
See you soon.
Question taken from Step Up to IELTS p.47
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Academic Writing - Model Answer (Task 2)

In some countries today, there is an attitude that ‘anyone can do it’ in the arts – music, literature, acting, art, etc. As a result, people with no talent become rich and famous and genuine talent is not valued or appreciated. Do you agree or disagree?

Reality television programs are extremely fashionable today and they promote the idea that an average person can succeed in the world of entertainment. Every year we witness thousands of contestants auditioning for shows like the X-factor, The Voice and other talent shows that make winners stars overnight but usually this fame is short lived until the next season of the show.

Everyone has a unique way of expressing themselves just as everyone appreciates different types of art. It is for this reason that the market has been accepting a variety of talents. Occasionally, these talent shows do discover genuine talent that would go undiscovered if an opportunity was not provided to them.

On the other hand, the media is dominated by stars that have no real talent, for example, Paris Hilton is well-known merely because of her money and the Kardashians have limited acting skills. As these personalities dominate the limelight there is little room for genuine talent. Often genuine talent is not appreciated even though artists who are dedicated to their work usually last longer than those whose fame relies on factors other than talent.

I believe everyone should be involved in the arts as this is good for the human soul. Consumers ultimately decide what is successful art and this can be seen in their voting preferences with respect to TV shows or their purchasing decisions. Genuine talent is always appreciated and those who have it stay longer in the market place than those who do not.

Question taken from Exam Essentials IELTS Practice Tests p.109
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Academic Writing - Model Answer (Task 2)

Over the past fifty years, international sports events such as the Olympic Games and world cup competitions have played an increasingly important role in our society. However, many people think such events are an enormous waste of money, time and effort. Do you agree?

Sports events are a good way to bring nations together, make spectators feel a sense of pride for their country, promote a sense of health and fitness and entertain viewers. It is, however, expensive to arrange such large scale events, manpower is needed and these sports events are time consuming to organise.

When wining the bid to host major events like the Olympic Games or World Cup competitions, countries have to invest in infrastructure such as stadiums, transport links, accommodation etc. It takes years to build these and plan opening ceremonies. Sometimes these stadiums and buildings remain empty once the games are over.

On the other hand, we should not forget that hosting games brings income into a country. Many thousands of people watch these games live or on television so sponsors are eager to advertise. Building large projects also means growth for a country and employment for thousands of workers.

We should also remember that people enjoy taking part in sports and there is a huge audience for this. Sportsmen are proud to represent their country and work hard to perform their best in such competitions. These events provide an opportunity to overcome cultural differences and racism in favour of fair play and healthy competition.

I believe sports events have a lot to offer to athletes and the general public in terms of raising moral and uniting nations. Of course organising and hosting events requires money and effort but in the end this investment is worth it.
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Academic Writing - Model Answer (Task 2)

Compared to our parent’s generation, life has become much more stressful. As a result, stress-related illnesses are on the increase around the world.

Why is stress such a problem in the modern world and what do you think can be done to overcome the problems caused by stress?

In the past people lived simpler lives with fewer choices but today many suffer from stress-related illnesses such as heart disease, insomnia, obesity and high blood pressure due to the fast pace of modern life and the effort to keep up.

There is a lot of tension and pressure in people’s life due to the fact that there is competition in all walks of life and there is a constant need to have a high level of performance. To stay ahead, people have to work longer hours and bear a heavy workload. Apart from the professional aspect of life, people are under stress socially to conform to society’s ideal lifestyle and keep up with the material wealth of others even if this is not what they want. Stress is unhealthy as it has many negative symptoms that exhaust a person’s body.

To maintain a healthier lifestyle it is important to eat healthy food and exercise regularly. Similarly, people need to get enough rest and sleep and avoid bad habits such as smoking or drinking too much. Maintaining a sense of humour and a positive outlook to life is also helpful. Finally, workers should avoid taking on too much responsibility and setting unrealistic deadlines.

Unfortunately, stress is part of our everyday life and is here to stay. In order to avoid the health-related issues associated with it people should try to be as healthy as possible by being fit, eating healthily and sleeping enough.
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Academic Writing - Model Answer (Task 2)

In some countries, it can be difficult for people over the age of 50 to get good jobs, despite their experience. What do you think are the causes of this problem, and what measures could be taken to solve it?

Older workers have a wealth of useful knowledge and skills acquired over their working lives, however, this is often not taken into account when searching for a job as employees prefer to hire young, inexperienced workers mainly due to the fact that they will not demand a high salary.

This preference for younger workers may be due to the attitude that employers have of people over 50. Perhaps they think that these workers will lack ambition and will not work as hard as their careers are coming to an end or they may believe that they are too set in their ways and do not have the flexibility to be open to new ideas. As mentioned earlier, employers are not willing to pay a high starting salary to an older worker who will justify this in terms of their experience, training and skills acquired in their job. Finally, some employers might want to give younger workers a chance of starting their career and like the image of a young workforce.

The government might solve this problem by encouraging companies to hire workers over 50. They may for example agree to pay for half of the worker’s wage or allow a business to pay less tax if they do so. In addition, the retirement age can be changed so workers are forced to work until a much later stage in their lives.

Because of the greater ageing population in many countries workers are forced to continue working until a later age to support the economy and their small pension. Hiring workers over 50 benefits a company and the government should try to encourage this policy.

Question taken from Exam Essentials IELTS Practice Tests p.129
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Academic Writing - Model Answer (Task 2)

In many countries these days, the number of people continuing their education after school has increased, and the range of courses available at universities and colleges has also increased. Do you think this is a positive or negative development?

Due to the highly competitive nature of the marketplace it is no longer possible to find a good job with a high school education only. Most students continue studying and having a PhD has become common now. Students also have a lot more subject choices which cater for changing market needs, for example, environmental studies and IT related fields are currently popular.

This is a positive development as education is always valued and can improve a person’s standard of living and their understanding of the world around them. Education is often encouraged in developing countries for this reason. What is more, it is a good idea for universities to keep up with job trends and offer a variety of courses to their students.

On the other hand, many great entrepreneurs did not have any further education. After leaving high school they went straight into the workplace and gained valuable experience that placed them several years ahead of those who chose to continue their education. In addition, some countries suffer from over-education where most people are highly educated and they find it difficult to get a job because they are over-qualified and they do not differ from other candidates.

To conclude, education benefits an individual greatly and it is a basic human right. Businesses and countries also develop through educated staff members. Having plenty of options for an individual to choose from is an added advantage. That is not to say that people who decide not to pursue further studies cannot be successful individuals.
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Academic Writing - Model Answer (Task 2)

Some people regard work as the most important thing in life and have little interest in anything else. Other people are more enthusiastic about their hobbies and leisure interests than their jobs. Discuss both these attitudes and give your own opinion.

People need to work in order to survive financially and cover their living expenses. Hobbies are also necessary as without these an individual’s life would be monotonous and boring. Some people take their work very seriously and are ambitious trying to stay ahead while others are more interested in enjoying themselves.

Work occupies a large part of a person’s life and it is important that they enjoy what they do so that they do not feel miserable when they get up in the morning. For many people, work is their life and they do not appear to be interested in anything else. Workaholics are the first to arrive at the office and the last to leave, often working at weekends and during holidays as well. This may be due to the fact that they hold a position of responsibility in the company or they might be self-employed. I do not think it is a good idea to be defined by your work only. It is important to have interests outside your working environment.

Having personal time to do what you enjoy most means that a person has time to relax and unwind and release some of the tension from work. People who value their hobbies more might mean that they do not regard their work highly and might not be the best or reliable employees to have.

All in all, there should be a balance between work and pleasure. Working too hard results in burn out and health issues whilst only focusing on leisure activities may mean that an individual will not gain a promotion or greater financial security, in fact they may even lose their job due to fierce competition in the job market.

Question taken from Exam Essentials IELTS Practice Tests p.169
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Academic Writing - Model Answer (Task 2)

The world is consuming natural resources faster than they can be renewed. Therefore, it is important that products are made to last. Governments should discourage people from constantly buying up-to-date or fashionable products. To what extent do you agree or disagree?

Environmental problems are a priority for many governments today. Human activity and waste are largely responsible for the environment’s poor state. With the rise of consumerism, consumers are quick to throw away old models in favour of updated products adding to waste.

In the interests of marketing and making a profit, large companies often delay putting new products onto the market. They wait until the old product has reached its greatest selling point and then they introduce new features. This is especially true for electronic products. Even though people neglect their old products, making products that last longer means that innovation, development and technology is not encourages and this may prevent growth for a country.

In the past, products were valued more and a family often purchased an item to last for a lifetime, for example, a television or a radio. If a product broke it was repaired rather than thrown again. This is because people did not have so much money to spend and they did not have the choices that are available today. In addition, manufacturers produced strong models without trying to save on costs like they do today.

It is very difficult for the government to change people’s spending habits and their desire to have the latest products even though this would be an environmental benefit. What it can do however is encourage consumers to recycle their used items and provide incentives to manufacturers to use parts from old products rather than waste resources to build items from scratch.
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Expressteach in Shanghai, China

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