Michelle's independent resources for ESL Students at Vancouver Community College

This is a Canadian ESL blog for Intermediate and Advanced Students who want to learn and improve their English. Each PAGE above contains thousands of free English lessons, tutorials and practice exercises to help you learn and improve your English grammar, reading, listening, pronunciation, speaking, writing and editing. Some of the resources are Canadian. Others are from around the world.

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Pronunciation Basics: 
Consonants and Vowels 

If you want to speak English well, people must be able to understand you. This does not mean your pronunciation must be perfect, but it does mean it must be understandable. 

The person who is listening to you shouldn't have to work hard at understanding everything you say, or constantly ask you what you mean.
If you  live in another country, or even in Canada, the United States, Australia, New Zealand or Britain, chances are that you have some kind of accent.  That's O.K., but at some point you will need to work on your pronunciation. Since you come from 100s of different countries and have different languages, you need some kind of symbol that expresses the English sounds you need to learn. 

Knowing and understanding these symbols are essential when you are looking up new words in a dictionary. If you know what the symbols mean, as well as how words are divided into syllables and where the words should be stressed, you will be well on your way to learning how to pronounce new words.

The International Phonetic Association has developed specific symbols that can be used by any language group in the world to denote English sounds.  

THE IPA: International Phonetic Association Symbols 


 International Phonetic Symbols Interactive NEW
Click on any symbol to hear the sound 


Daily Pronunciation Practice
Specific Daily Exercises To Improve Your Pronunciation

Vowels and Consonants

English Vowels

English Diphthongs 

 English Consonants 

Ship or Sheep? 
Minimal Pairs  Sounds: 
Minimal pairs are words that vary by only one single sound. These are usually meaning sounds that students often get confused by, like "fan" and "van", or  "ship vs sheep."  Getting these sounds wrong can lead to serious communication problems, so it is useful to practice them as often as possible. 

Practice with Minimal Pairs  

   Pronunciation Games

Difficult Words

Practice with Syllable Stress

Sentence Rhythm and Stress

Understanding Fast English


Pronunciation Tests New


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