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Free Online English Language Courses

Is it ‘squash’, ‘quash’ or ‘cosh’? Do you mean ‘here’, ‘hair’ or ‘hare’? How can ‘flat’ have two very different meanings? Yes, English is a strange language full of quirky spellings and weird pronunciations that can make it hard for a non-speaker to master it. Why are ‘threw’ and ‘through’ said the same way when they are spelt differently and mean totally different things? Our free English language courses will help you get to grips with sentence structure, spelling, idioms and much more around this complex tongue.

Free Basic English Courses

What do we mean when we say, ‘basic English’? Technically, ‘basic English’ is a very specific form of the language created in the 1920s by a British linguist. For our purposes, however, basic English means being able to communicate on a simple level so that you can make yourself understood. This section is for beginners who are just starting to learn English as another language.

In these courses, you will study everyday phrases and master the different parts like verbs, nouns, tenses, adjectives and adverbs. This will enable you to have simple conversations, read basic texts and write proper sentences – all crucial skills to have if you’re studying, writing up research, pitching a screenplay or applying for a job at a company where the language of business is English. Naturally, once you have perfected basic English, you can move onto our free courses in more advanced use of this universal language.

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Free English Vocabulary Courses

Did you know that, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, there are about 250,000 words in English but that only about 3,000 are used in most publications? This means that you don’t have to know or understand every word in the English language to read an average book, newspaper or website, or understand an average television show or podcast. Even native speakers generally only use about 2,800 words in everyday speech.

Our free English vocabulary courses have a level to suit everyone: elementary, intermediate or advanced. Once you’ve got to grips with one level, move onto the next – remember, there is no limit to the number of free courses you can complete on Alison. We even provide courses on common situations, such as how to have English discussions in your workplace, English for tourist guides and even conversations around food, helpful if you work in hospitality or are dining in a restaurant. If you register your Alison account now, you can start improving your English vocabulary at your own pace, today.

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Free English Grammar Courses

Simply defined, ‘grammar’ is the structure of a language – how sentences are put together and how different constructions have different meanings. English grammar is considered complicated to learn because there are exceptions to every rule and lots of inconsistencies. Plus, spoken English can be different to written English, adding another layer of complexity.

If this seems daunting to you as a learner, you’ll be pleased to hear that our free grammar courses cover everyone from absolute beginners to more advanced users. You will be taught what common collocations are (for example, you ‘make’ coffee but ‘do’ your homework), how to use phrasal verbs correctly (like ‘sit up’ or ‘sit down’), and what infinitives and gerunds are. Because you can work at your own pace, you can take your time on parts of the course that are more complex and speed through aspects that you already understand. Having a firm grasp of correct English grammar will allow you to craft better job application letters, write reports and essays, submit grant requests and much more.

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Featured English Language Course Publishers

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Openstax CNX

Like Alison, Openstax CNX believes strongly in spreading educational material as far and wide as possible, all for free. Founded at Rice University in Texas in 1999, courses, textbooks and reports across a wide variety of subjects are available to learners and teachers at no charge.

Many of Openstax CNX’s English courses meet the demands of the travel and tourism industry. Because it is the only truly universal language, fluency in English is in huge demand from restaurants and hotels across the world so that workers can converse with the greatest number of guests possible. To give you a head start in your hospitality career, you can do free courses that specialize in English for front-desk and reception (important since you will be welcoming all guests and helping them solve problems). There is also a free course specifically for restaurant workers so that you can learn how to greet diners, take orders, deal with questions and present the bill. Another crucial part of the travel industry is the guided tour – take a free course in English to become a professional tour guide.

Marina Arshavskiy

Marina Arshavskiy not only holds a Bachelor’s degree in Modern Linguistics, she also has a Master’s degree in Instructional Design (the efficient creation of learning materials) where the focus is on creating TESOL courses (Teaching English as a Second Language). So she’s perfectly positioned to create free English language courses for Alison learners. She is a whizz at online or e-learning and knows how to reach beyond a traditional classroom. In fact, she created Your E-learning World where she teaches other people how to create effective online courses.

Marina has combined all her knowledge, experience and qualifications to create a specialist free course on teaching English as a second or foreign language (TESOL or TEFL). In it, she breaks down the five key stages of acquiring a second language, how to manage a classroom situation if you’ve never been a teacher before and how different people have different styles of learning.


XSIQ provides courses on psychology, broadly defined as the study of the human mind and our behaviour, including emotions, thought, and conscious and unconscious phenomena. If you want to pursue a career in any aspect of mental health, it is always beneficial to have a solid foundation in the basics of psychology.

XSIQ Ltd was an Australian interactive multimedia corporation set up to develop leading-edge interactive multimedia content for the Australian secondary or high school educational sector. Although the company is no longer in business, Alison purchased all its multimedia learning assets to make available for free via our free learning website. The courses are very well written and presented and provide excellent complementary learning material. The Alison education team have edited and added to the learning content where appropriate. The Alison content team and our partners continue to expand the content and, in particular, work with educational bodies worldwide to format the material for complementary learning in different countries and educational jurisdictions.

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