Six Wonderful Sites to Help you Write, Speak and Sound Better

I’m not a native speaker. Even though I read, write, work and I would almost dare say live  and dream in  English, I haven’t learned the language from birth and sometimes have moments of self-doubt. These websites I am going to share in this post have been an invaluable help.

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Howjsay  and Forvo: The world’s largest dictionaries of English Pronunciation

How often have you come across a proper name you had no clue how to pronounce and you desperately needed to know the  correct standard  pronunciation of or perhaps  a variant pronunciation of this word?  Let’s say you want to know the pronunciation of the word “selion”. You go to the most important online dictionaries offering pronunciation, but the word you’re looking up is not there and you suddenly begin to panic. At this stage you can do three things: panic, pretend you know how to pronounce it ( you just know how to sound British, no problem there) or look up the word in any of these two amazing sites that have saved my skin countless times.

Linguee

We all know how difficult it is to write, even more in a foreign language. More often than not we look up words in dictionaries only to find that it offers so many possibilities for the translation of the word that  we don’t know which one to choose for the context we need. In fact, sometimes it doesn’t help us at all but makes things more complicated as we don’t know which word to use to mean what we want to express and we end up completely frustrated. Here, Linguee can help us as it is a bilingual dictionary but  in context

Phraseup

Sometimes we know what we want to write, the sentence is phrased in our mind, but we can’t figure out some of the words we need. This is where phraseup*comes in. It assists you with writing, by suggesting possible combinations to fill-in the words you can’t remember. Each suggestion is accompanied by definitions, synonyms and translations to other languages.
Imagine you know there is an expression containing the words ” take” and “granted” but you have forgotten what goes in the middle, PhraseUp can help you here, too. Just type the words that you remember and put an asterisk * where you want the application to insert something. Very useful, isn’t it?

Or maybe  you want to use the verb+preposition combination “cope with” but you are just not sure which words it collocates with, just type it in PhraseUp and options will be provided.

Ozdic.com

I have been using ozdic.com for years and this is a dictionary I cannot live without. It is not any dictionary, it also help you to sound more natural when speaking or writing in English. Let’s  say you don’t know the preposition that collocates with the verb “insist”, or which adverbs sound  more natural with this verb; let’s imagine you need to use the word “idea” but you have no clue what adjective to use  apart from the overused “good “. Go to the dictionary now, this is just a sample of what you’ll find : bright, brilliant, clever, excellent,, marvellous | valuable, worthwhile | exciting, inspirational, interesting, stimulating | constructive, positive | absurd, bad, mistaken, ridiculous | , crazy, mad, outlandish, wild | half-baked | ambitious, big, grand.

The dictionary contains over 150,000 collocations for nearly 9,000 headwords and it is based on the 100 million word British National Corpus.

Text2Phonetics 

It is a wonderful tool that can save a lot of time if you need to transcribe something. I have tried it with small texts (two or three lines) and it’s incredible! You will be able to  pronounce a whole text perfectly .
Just paste the text you want to transcribe and click the Transcribe Button to get the transcription.

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32 thoughts on “Six Wonderful Sites to Help you Write, Speak and Sound Better

  1. Dear Cristina, thanks for the nice tips.

    I’m not a native speaker either and these sites are wonderful tools.

  2. Thank you. I’m glad you find them helpful. I’ve been using them for years.

  3. Me encanta. Las probaré a ver qué tal. Con suerte encuentro algo donde enseñen el Yorkshire accent =D

  4. Hi Ana
    I think it is just normal to have doubts when working in a foreign language. I hope these tools help!

  5. I ‘m a NNEST , as well . I’ve never heard of these websites, so thanks for sharing! And congratulations for your blog, it’s superb.

  6. I’m a TEFL teacher and had never heard of phraseup or ozdic. I will definitely be telling my students about these! Thanks!
    I have a website that might also be useful. It has short news articles with vocabulary lists so students learn English in it’s “natural habitat” (not in boring vocabulary lists) and there’s a section where I correct students’ own writing. There’s also grammar pages and lesson plans for teachers.
    http://www.easyenglisharticles.com I hope you like it!

  7. Hi Jess
    I had a look at your site and it looks great. I especially liked the news articles section , which I’ll definetely recommend. Also, the part where you correct students’ writing is also 100% recommendable. Thanks for your work!

  8. I knew about Forvo and Linguee but hadn’t used them all that much. Thanks for refreshing my memory, as well as introducing me to these other useful tools!

  9. Hi Stephen
    I am glad you find them the useful ,too. Thanks for dropping by!

  10. Great article! For those of us who are self-taught learners of languages, articles like this are a valuable treasure. Every time I come across with one of these useful website resources, I add it to my personal list of online tools, which I try to keep updated as much as possible.
    I’d add wordreference.com to your list. This dictionary is really helpful because it has definitions, thesaurus, translations to a lot of other languages, pronunciation (but not in the connected speech), and a forum where you can ask other people to clarify your doubts (I found a few errors, though.)
    The Cambridge dictionaries (http://dictionary.cambridge.org/) are also an excellent option, particularly the business English one, which helped me in several occasions ; )
    I just discovered your blog and I’m loving it! : ) [no McDonald’s ad intended here] you are doing a great job! Congratulations!!!
    You have a new enthusiastic follower in Argentina : )

  11. Hi Emmanuel! Yes, there are a lot of wonderful sites out there. In fact, right now I am preparing one post about dictionaries but I won’t be publishing any new posts until late September when classes start again .Thank you for your contribution and also for your kind words. It’s nice to hear that some of the things I write are helpful! It keeps me motivated !

  12. Hello Cristina, first of all, let me tell you that those links are really useful for me, so useful that I have shared them with my classmates and teachers of the university where I study English Teaching; yet I have an issue entering the Ozdic.com it doesnt take me there, can you fix it please? It’s one of the most amazing links I’ve ever found !
    Thanks and kinds regards from Sonora, Mexico.

  13. Hi Alejandro
    I am glad you find them useful and yes, I totally agree, ozdic. com is a great help for both students and teachers. I have double-checked the link and it is working fine. Try again , please!
    And thanks for sharing my work! keep dropping by!

  14. Hi Cristina
    Thanks for your comment. No, I didn’t know about prowritingaid’s collocations dictionary. I have just checked it out nd it is good, but ozdic. com remains my favourite.
    Thanks for the suggestion!

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