Learn English? Comics to help

    Now there is a huge number of systems for learning English. Techniques that actively use films and TV shows are becoming very popular. But we went further and encourage our students to learn English with the help of comics!

    How to do this and what you need to know to make learning enjoyable and interesting, we tell in this article.

    Culture comics and why they are effective in learning languages

    In Russian-speaking countries, comics are not very popular. They are perceived as children's literature. But in other countries, everything is different.

    In Japan, for example, up to 40% of all literature is occupied by comics. The US is not lagging behind - Americans love comics, and they even have their own comic culture, which is largely created by DC and Marvel.

    Comics love even harsh guys in strict suits. And to be honest, among the EnglishDom team there are also ardent comic book fans. In the office, sometimes there are entire wars, when fans decide who is better: Superman or Flash.

    In any case, comics are actively used by most of our tutors in their training programs. There are several reasons why they work even better than movies, TV shows and fiction.

    Reason 1. Comics Vocabulary

    When writing most comic books, they use simplified colloquial language. They are designed for the widest possible audience, so there will be no complex phraseological units or rare words.

    The most difficult thing you can meet is compound verbs. And only because they are an integral part of colloquial speech.

    Can you just put your gun down?

    No need to have a huge vocabulary to read comics. For most Marvel comics, the Intermediate level is sufficient. But some drawn books can be read even with Pre-Intermediate. We'll give you some examples later.

    Also in the comic book is widely used vocabulary, which means emotional exclamations or onomatopoeia. They can also be remembered and used in informal correspondence - they enrich the written text with emotions without using emoji.

    Important! Learning slang with comics is a bad idea. Slang becomes outdated very quickly, so if the comics are over 20 years old, then most likely you will learn phrases that no one uses.

    Particularly noticeable is obsolete slang in comics before the 60s.

    The Kellys comic book series is just a collection of old slang.

    "Have a swing-ding" - in the 50s, this phrase meant "to dance a swing." But today, this phrase is more related to golf tournaments, and its original meaning is used only for retro parties.

    Reason 2. Grammar of comics.

    Grammar in graphic novels is even simpler than vocabulary. And all because the dialogue cloud is very limited in size - there is simply no space for writing long-term reflections and multi-level grammatical structures.

    In times, too, are not wise. In most cases, active forms and the usual Simple are used. A little less - Continuous and Perfect. Something more complicated is very rare.

    A page from the Wonder Woman comic. There is absolutely nothing complicated in grammar - even a student with the Pre-Intermediate level can understand it without any problems.

    Reason 3. Understanding written

    Even if you do not know all the words, the illustrations will help you understand the context and get at least an approximate meaning.

    But do not even try to understand what is happening without context. Sometimes it is very harmful for the psyche. In the old comics, the authors have hidden a lot of “Easter eggs”, which look very strange without context.

    Without a knowledge of the context, all these hand manipulations are a matter of jurisdiction.

    The trick is that such “jokes” are included by the authors purposely in order to attract a more adult audience. And this is another one of the examples that you need to read.

    But something simpler. Starfire shouts that she loves Dick [Grayson], but oh, this pun.

    The adult audience especially likes to learn English from comics because of such jokes. After all, how cool it is to find such a pun and fully understand its meanings. That is why EnglishDom tutors include old comics for students after 20, who really appreciate this kind of humor.

    But if you do not look at these Easter eggs, the context really helps to perceive the text in dynamics. And even if there are unfamiliar words, in most cases you can guess what they mean.

    Reason 4. Learning with pleasure

    Connoisseur of comics can be seen from afar. If we suddenly find out that our student loves comics, then he no longer has any options: he will read his favorite stories in original in English.

    True, if a person prefers manga, then you have to look for good American alternatives that are similar in style.

    There is a huge advantage here - if a comic really “enters” a student, he will lean on them more than on standard textbooks and exercises. And the language will still be pumped. After all, the brain remembers much better the information that he likes.

    Top 3 comics for learning English

    Immediately warn you - these are the top comics that we think are the best for learning English, and not the best at all. So connoisseurs of Flash or Hulk can exhale and continue to consider them as the best :)


    In the Russian-speaking space, this cute cat is known mainly by the same film, which was released in 2006.

    A Garfield is a mini-story that fits entirely on one turn, and most often takes up only a few scenes. They are moderately funny and capture quite diverse topics from everyday life and not only.

    In general, must have to learn English and English humor.

    You can read about Garfield comics here .

    The simpsons comics

    The Simpsons is one of the symbols of American culture, so English can and should be taught from these comics. The Simpsons acquaint the reader with real spoken American English and with real US culture.

    True, the shoals of this very culture are very wittily making fun, so the comics will “enter” to the connoisseurs of good humor.

    Among our students there are many who like the animated series "The Simpsons". So using comics with Homer and Bart to learn a language is the perfect solution.

    In general, the comics vocabulary is very simple, so people will understand it even with English below average. But if many people understand the language, then humor will not. To do this, you need to be at least a little aware of American cultural characteristics and trends. Sometimes you need an additional educational program.

    Also in the cartoon "The Simpsons" just a huge number of links to various famous events and people. There are less of them in the comics, but they are still there.

    All comics about the Simpsons (and today there are more than 240), you can read here .


    We know that this is an unexpected choice, but for learning a language it is just a masterpiece. And what is especially cool - comics are great for both adults and children.

    Comic stories are very, very different - from the story of financial literacy to the invasion of aliens. Therefore, the vocabulary is always different - you just do not get bored with them.

    Many of our students (those who are now 25–30 years old) grew up on “Duck stories”, so these comics are read with particular enthusiasm. But children and teenagers are also quite successfully attached to the stories of Mr. McDuck.

    Older versions of Ducktales comics (2011) can be read here . And the new ones (2017–2018) are here .

    If you wish, you can learn English for any comics that you like. Be it "Batman", "The Walking Dead" or "City of Sins." But, for example, the vocabulary in the “City of Sins” will be more difficult, and it should be read with a language level of at least Upper-Intermediate.

    In principle, any comic book can expand vocabulary and improve language understanding. The main thing is to work with them as a tool for learning English. But we must remember that comics will not work out on their own - a theoretical basis and vocabulary will still have to be developed by traditional methods. And comics are an opportunity to make further education more interesting and productive.

    Bonus 3 services where you can read comics for free

    And as a small bonus, we have prepared a small list of trusted sites where you can read comics in English online.

    Readcomiconline is an excellent resource where you can find just a huge amount of comic books: from old school straight from the 30s-40s to the newest ones from 2018.

    Comic Book + - site design is somewhat outdated, but this is one of the largest collections of comic books - more than 35,000 books. Therefore, it is realistic to find even rare and not very popular comics.

    Read Comic is a nice site, a large collection of comic books (approximately 15,000 books), and a very simple interface. Overall a great site, but some books are not readable. So you need to look and choose.

    You can, of course, search for comics on the official websites of publishers like Marvel and DC , but there are very few free books. For most issues, even if online, have to pay money.

    Using comics in learning English is your personal choice. But we still recommend trying, even if you have never read them before. Sure you will like it.

    EnglishDom.com is an online English learning platform.

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    Learn English, discussing comics, movies, IT with ticher, but at least molecular physics. All that you have achieved the goal!

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