The best learn English software lets you master the most widely spoken language in the world. Crucially, it does this by offering you software that can be accessed on your devices as and when you need.
This guide has only the very best learn English software in the form of apps, websites and platforms both for subscription services as well as downloadable software packages. So something for every need. And since each one is listed with its special appeal, you can find the right one for you, easily.
The options here span from very basic platforms, some of which are free and ideal for beginners, right up to premium options aimed at those that want full-on fluency training.
Each platform has varying teaching methods from visual to audio and more in between, so be sure to check this so you can find the style best suited to your way of learning.
If you want more we also have guides to the best learn Spanish online (opens in new tab) courses, the best learn French online apps and websites (opens in new tab), and the best online learning platforms (opens in new tab).
The best learn English software
1. Rosetta Stone: Best learn English software overall
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Rosetta Stone immerses learners in the language. It uses fundamental features such as reading, vocabulary, speech recognition and writing to help students learn and understand English. It doesn't use your native language to translate the English words - it's all done in English. This prevents leaning on the translations to make it through the lessons. In addition, it uses videos to send users into the English language virtually, and it prompts you with images and audio files.
Rosetta Stone English helps its students learn through an interactive system of incremental advancement in the language. Learning English in Rosetta Stone occurs through three core components: You learn, practice, and then play to reinforce what you've learned. The Rosetta Stone learning method is about absorbing English and becoming fully immersed in it, which is why it's so effective.
It starts by teaching useful phrases, instead of straight vocabulary lists and grammar rules. It doesn't feel overly academic, which is why it's so successful. There's also speech recognition technology to help with English pronunciation, so you get to speak it in addition to just seeing it on a screen.
The app itself works on computers, tablets, and smartphones, so you can learn wherever you are, and only pay for a single subscription. There's a free trial, and regular discounts at the Rosetta Stone store, so you should at least try it out because this is the best learn English software you can get.
2. Rocket Languages: Best for audio learning
If you're at beginner level, and you prefer hearing a language rather than seeing it spelled out, then Rocket Languages is the best option for you. The course is split into three parts - the first couple are all about listening, learning, and absorbing information. It's the more traditional learning element. The third is known as a 'survival kit' where you're then placed into a scenario and expected to follow the language and interact where needed.
What makes this method especially great is that you can choose different survival kits to suit real-world situations. So, if you're visiting an English speaking country on business, you can test yourself with a business-focused survival kit. There are some for shopping, speaking to locals, and more - they will suit almost all situations.
The downside is that Rocket Languages is quite expensive, so you need to commit time and money to get value from it. We do recommend this, however, as it'll have you speaking good English in a very short space of time.
3. Duolingo: Best for kids
Duolingo is completely free, and while there are pay-for elements, you don't ever have to use them. That's its biggest advantage. And while you'd think Duolingo being free would make it a sub-standard learning experience, you'd be wrong. It's actually very well structured and planned, albeit with one eye on pestering you to pay for upgrades and extras. It's also perfect for kids because it's user-friendly, bright and colorful, and starts out very simple.
The thing Duolingo does best is teach you words and phrases, which you can then use if you visit a country that speaks your chosen language. While it won't teach you much about culture, grammar rules, or structure, it's very useful for anyone looking to get a few key phrases for things like holidays or short visits.
While Duolingo will reward you for logging in each day, and will send you push notifications to prompt you to learn more, it does get very repetitive very fast, and can be a little annoying at times. You'll struggle to progress beyond a certain level unless you start paying money for it, at which point we'd recommend you move on to something like Rosetta Stone, which provides a far superior paid-for learning experience.
4. Memrise: Best English app for busy people
If you want to learn English, but find yourself too busy to do so, then Memrise is the app for you. It's designed for smartphones and tablets, so is intended for use on devices that you take everywhere with you. The course itself is also intended to fit around busy lives, to help you make the most of a commute or spare ten minutes when you're cooking, cleaning, or doing other household chores.
It's a largely-free app, although you will be asked to pay for some content, and it uses flash-cards to prompt learning. These flash-cards are great for visual learners, and will reinforce language and phrases through repetition. The downside here is that the app does, indeed, get repetitive if you use it for long periods of time.
We like the app itself, and the interface is good whether you're on iOS or Android. It doesn't quite match Duolingo for content, however, but is a good visual method for those who prefer that kind of learning.
5. Pimsleur: An academic method that gets results(opens in new tab)
Pimsleur is an actual method of language learning, and is academically-rooted. It's very effective, as a result, and can have you speaking English in a matter of months. This is primarily an audio-based course, and it's also fairly expensive, so you do have to really want to learn English if you decide to pay for this course.
Pimsleur's method uses sample conversations to help you immerse in the language, and to give you helpful answers and phrases for everyday situations. While there are some visual cues, it largely relies on audio to deliver teaching.
What we don't like is that Pimsleur can be a little too academic in places, and will get boring after a few months of use. Learning can't always be fun, but you will need to motivate yourself to push through from the intermediate to more advanced stages. The high price of the software, however, should motivate most people.
Best learn English software: FAQs
How we tested the best apps and websites for learning English
We spent a week with each language learning app, testing its features and teaching methods. It’s difficult to directly compare all of the platforms, as they offer vastly different approaches.
So to compile this list, we took into account things like how engaged we felt as students, how well certain tools work on the interface, and how in-depth the lessons go (for example, exploring grammar rules rather than just asking students to repeat phrases and vocabulary).
How to master the English accent
English is a very complicated language with lots of rules but it's the accent which can be the toughest part to really master. While most of the platforms listed will do a good job of helping you with words, grammar and grounding, the accent part is quite a specific area to work on.
The best way to perfect the accent is to spend time with native English speakers to pick up on their pronunciation. Some apps do offer live video lessons which can also help with that accent acquisition. In the case of the premium Rosetta Stone, you even get feedback on that accent thanks to live lessons. Another option is to check out the best online tutoring services (opens in new tab), where there are native English speakers available for lessons.
One, fun option, is to watch English TV shows and movies. There's actually evidence that suggests you can learn a language by watching TV (opens in new tab). One way is to note down words you don't recognize and look them up later. Repeating episodes is another way to work on language pick-up and perfection.