Who says learning English has to be boring? Playing games can propel both your comprehensive and conversation skills to the next level. You may be under the impression that you can only learn English via classroom games, but there are every day, easy-to-access, free games (and fun games) that can help you learn outside of the classroom, too.

That’s right. You can choose to learn English every second of the day if you wanted to—outside of work and other hobbies, of course. In this article, you will learn about the two best games under the following categories: games to play with friends, games to play alone, video games, and board games.

Do you want to know how to learn English fast? Get your pen and pencil out (or save the link to this article), and jot down the games listed below.

Playing a video game

How Do Games Help You Learn English?

Which subject do I remember most from high school? French. In French class, we played a lot of games: slap board, spelling races, charades, and the list goes on. My teacher kept points throughout the year, and the winning team won donuts. I think my team won every year.

However, to do this day, despite not taking French class for 10 years, I’ve retained most of what I learned. My accent is horrible, but I can understand the basics. I don’t think I remember anything else from high school (except for the fact that I wore weird outfits).

So what helped cement French into my long-term memory? Games. Games. Games! And probably the desire to win a donut.

It’s safe to say that my will to win motivated me to learn a new language. Cambridge notes that not only do games help to motivate us to learn a second language, but they grant learners with the “opportunity to communicate in English in a safe and fun way.” It’s easier to mess up in a game rather than in a formal setting.

An article, titled “EFFECTIVENESS OF LANGUAGE GAMES IN SECOND LANGUAGE VOCABULARY ACQUISITION” written by Ayesha Perveen, claims that “The findings obtained after analysis revealed that games could acquaint students with new words or phrases and facilitate deep learning of vocabulary in a better and faster way in comparison to memorization.”

What does this mean? Games help learners learn vocabulary more naturally!

A game of scrabble

Best Games and Activities to Help You Learn English

How to learn English fast? Get your game face on and start playing either board games, simple games with friends, free online games, or video games!

1. Best games to play with friends

Getting together with friends? Why not try out the following games? Both don’t require WiFi, phones, or anything electronic. Plus, charades makes for a fun drinking game, too. And 20 questions can be played while traveling, waiting for something, or anywhere, all you need is one other person.

Charades

How does it work?
This suitable-for-all-ages game never fails to evoke laughter. All you need to do is act out words, movies, actors, actresses written on a piece of paper.

  1. Split into two teams.
  2. Choose a theme. Let’s go with movies for this example.
  3. Each participant writes down a movie—be sure to keep your note private.
  4. Throw the slips of paper into a hat.
  5. The first participant grabs a piece of paper, looks at it, and acts it out.
  6. Your team tries to guess which movie you’re acting out before the timer runs out.

It’s pretty simple, right?

How does this game help you learn English?
First things first, it definitely helps to choose a theme that you’re currently studying, such as food and drink and various verbs. But charades primarily helps participants learn vocabulary. It also gives ESL learners a chance to practice speaking words out loud in a relaxed environment where someone can easily correct any pronunciation mistakes.

20 questions

How does it work?
The object of 20 questions is to guess which person, place, or thing the other participant is thinking of. The main rule? You must only ask yes-or-no questions. The second rule? You have to guess what the other person is thinking of in 20 questions.

  1. Player one thinks of something.
  2. Player two tries to guess what player one is thinking by asking yes-or-no questions.
  3. Once player two guesses the right answer, they become the one who thinks of an object.

It’s a simple game, one that makes long journeys go by super fast.

How does this game help you learn English?
This game, also suitable for all ages, gives people a chance to practice asking yes-or-no questions while also stringing together sentences.

2. Best board games

Who doesn’t love a good board game? They are especially fun when everyone gets competitive. However, board games can also help to add some colorful words to your vocabulary.

Scrabble

How does it work?
You have to come up with words with your set of tiles, which each have a letter. At the start, the participants grab seven tiles, and you have to try and come up with a word when your turn rolls around.

However, your word has to connect to a letter already on the board either horizontally or vertically. You can also make words already present on the board longer. For example, you can turn bake into baker.

Once you finish your turn, you have to replace the tiles you used.

How does this game help you learn English?
It challenges you to think of new words! Plus, if someone plays an unknown word, you can always ask them to unveil the definition. And you get to practice spelling, too.

Taboo

How does it work?
Taboo works similar to charades, but it’s a catapult for yelling, shouting, and competitiveness. The goal? To try and get your teammates to guess the taboo word without saying one of the five words shown on the card (including the taboo word).


How does this game help you learn English?
Taboo forces you to think of ways to describe something without using typical words. It’s the ideal game to help you expand your vocabulary.

3. Best games to play alone

Why not take advantage of travel times, waiting rooms, or boredom, and practice English, but in a fun way? The following two games will help ease your restlessness and help boost your vocabulary, I promise.

Crosswords

How does it work?
It’s quite straightforward! You’ll find hints for words in the ACROSS or DOWN section. Remember to look at the numbers beside the words. Let’s take a look at an example:

ACROSS
2. This is one of America’s most popular foods.

Once you figure out the answer (hamburger), you’ll go to the crossword, and look for number two, and write hamburger across (not down) the puzzle.

How does this game help you learn English?
Crosswords will not only help you expand your vocabulary, but it will help to boost your overall thought process. How? Well, when you read the clues in ACROSS or DOWN, you get your brain to connect a word to the hints, forcing you to understand the sentences as well as the one-word answer.

Digital quizzes

How does it work?
You can find numerous online quizzes to help you learn English. I suggest checking out the English quiz app offered by Cambridge! If you can’t connect to WiFi, you can always create your own quizzes, too.

How? Just grab a pen and paper, choose a category, and write words in your language, and then translate those words in English. This is just a super simple example. You can always write out questions or full sentences to translate.

How does this game help you learn English?
It forces you to think about how to translate words from your language to English in a fun, relaxed way.

4. Best video games

How to learn English fast? Play video games. That’s right. Video games give you a chance to learn English—and I’m not talking about online games inspired by ESL websites, but popular (cool, I suppose) video games like League of Legends and World of Warcraft.

The best part about playing video games? You get to practice speaking with other gamers in an informal setting, where you can learn to pick up sarcastic tones, different senses of humor, and a variety of accents.

League of Legends and World of Warcraft

How do these games help you learn English?
Instead of detailing how these games work—explaining them would be the equivalent of discussing J.R.R. Tolkien’s epic The Lord of the Rings fantasy world in-depth—I’m just going to get right into it.

These two video games ask the player to interact with other participants. In both League of Legends and World of Warcraft, you have to communicate with other players in order to win battles (more so League of Legends) and complete quests (more so World of Warcraft). The quick pace of both games require you to communicate fast without putting much thought into your English.

You’re forced to spit out words and sentences that may not make sense. You’re forced to hear other players talking at a fast, urgent pace. The Conversation writes that “Players have to communicate in real-time, with no opportunity to agonise over what to say, or how to speak perfectly.”

Do you want to level up? Get online, get interactive, and play these two video games with others!

Trust me—no one will care (or even notice) that you don’t speak English as a first language. It’s the perfect way to learn English in an informal, fast-paced setting, where you have to talk without overthinking!

Man tossing dice

To Sum It Up

Well, there you have it! You can find a plethora of free games, fun games, and online games that can help you learn English faster. You see? Learning a language doesn’t have to be a mundane and stressful practice—it can be fun, relaxed, and chill, too.

On top of learning English via games, you can find other simple ways to learn English online—for free! How? Take a look at our blog post 7 Easy Ways to Learn English Online.