State-sponsored adult literacy courses are one free way to learn English.

Businesses around the world require employees to have English language skills. As a result, possessing no or limited English language skills can be a huge obstacle when pursuing certain types of work. If money is an issue and you need to brush up on your English skills, or if you know someone who needs assistance, take heart: There are many offline and online methods to access free English courses.

Go to your local social services, welfare or employment office and ask for information about state- or federal courses for speakers of English as a second language or for native adult speakers who need improved literacy skills. ESL or adult language skills courses may involve online coursework, one-on-one tutoring or group classes.

Check out churches and local nonprofit agencies that offer human services assistance, and inquire about English language learning programs offered free to the public. In addition, visit your local library and ask about free courses sponsored by library patrons or offered via partnerships with local schools or nonprofit organizations.

Check out English language learning websites that allow you to study English free at your own pace, such as the U.S. Department of Education’s U.S.A. Learns website, the BBC Learning website and the Englishlink site.


  • If you would prefer learning one-on-one with an English language speaker, ask at a local university or library if students or teachers are willing to volunteer as English tutors. A student or teacher may agree to tutor you for free in order to gain hand-on teaching experience or to add the lessons to a resume.