Practising your English by following social media accounts is a great way to fit some language learning into your day, even when you’re relaxing. Twitter is where lots of writers, journalists, and comedians hang out, so it’s a good place to learn some phrases real people use when talking to each other.
7 top Twitter accounts to learn English
1. The Onion
This is a long-running satirical news site published in the US. The headlines are so close to actual news headlines that some people mistakenly re-tweet it thinking it’s real. My absolute favourite Onion headline of all time is: ‘Man Puts Glass of Water on Bedside Table in Case He Needs to Make Huge Mess in Middle of Night’. The language they use mimics real news stories, so it’s good reading practice, but funny too.
The folks over at BBC Learning English update their Twitter feed with links to their useful resources, but also clips from their YouTube channel, quizzes, and pronunciation tips. Because they are part of the BBC, they have access to some amazing content that they break down for English language learners.
3. English 121
This account has very simple Tweets covering a single vocabulary word, or different ways to say something. Recent topics include seven ways to apologise (though most of them still include ‘sorry’!), 12 ways to say something is really, really big, and eight ways to say something is really hard.
4. Idiom Land
English is full of idioms, and they can be challenging to understand when they pop up in conversation. This account really makes learning these idioms fun with lots of graphics and even finding film clips to go with each one. The clip they have up for ‘elephant in the room’ makes me squirm though! When there is an awkward thing that not one wants to talk about, we say something like ‘well, let’s talk about the elephant the room…’ when we finally get up the courage to say something about it!
The Twitter account for the English-language grammar tool Grammarly is really useful for English learners and native speakers alike. They review seasonal words, clarify confusing points of grammar, and make suggestions about improving your writing. They also post short articles relevant to topics in the news, so they’re a good resource for topical vocabulary words too.
Up at the very northern end of Scotland are a little collection of islands called the Orkney Islands. As you can imagine, not very many people live there, but they do have a library. For some reason the Orkney Library’s Twitter account has become famous for being funny about all sorts of things. They post about books in their library, local artists, history, and sometimes just about the weather. They are Scottish, so some of the phrases might be a bit unfamiliar, but it’s good dialect practise!
Famous British cook and cookbook author Nigella Lawson is a master of evocative adjectives, and her Tweets will make you hungry! She is one of the best when it comes to describing food and cooking with love and joy. You get the added benefit of links to one of her recipes every day.
Also search out people and organisations that Tweet about the things you like to do – it makes your language learning much more interesting.