Sentence Search for Learning English

It’s not often that a tool emerges that is incredibly useful and free. It’s like finding the perfectly intact, ornate shell on the beach. A delicate miracle that has survived the harsh tide and the hundreds of careless feet. Ok, maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but I’m excited to share something that I know you’ll like.

Sentence Stack is a sentence search engine for learning English. It’s not so much for absolute beginners, as it does not include lessons. But, instead, Sentence Stack offers the ability to explore English through advanced search features on top of a database of millions of sentences. It may not be obvious what you can do with this, so let’s look at a few examples.

Idioms and Phrases

So much of writing and communicating in another language is understanding the common idioms and phrases that are peppered throughout. Sentence Stack contains idiom detection so that if you search for an idiom, this is detected and your search results will include a description of the idiom. Consider the phrase couch potato or the idiom by the seat of my pants. Sentence Stack displays a helpful description and a list of sentences containing the phrase:

Word Choice

Choosing the correct word or phrase to convey one’s meaning in a sentence is a very challenging task. Sentence Stack doesn’t just help writers make the correct choice, it provides them with the examples necessary to learn. It’s the famous saying, “Give a man a fish and feed him for a day, but teach a man to fish and feed him for a lifetime.” The frequency comparison functions of Sentence Stack can make it easy to choose the correct word and also review contextual examples to truly learn. Here’s an example query that compares a sentence with and without “the” (a common issue for ESL students) and another example that compares three possible words in a given phrase. They even offer a fill in the blank search for discovering the most common word(s) in a given context.

We are just scratching the surface of what can be done with Sentence Stack. However, one thing that it does not offer is grammar checking. Consider GrammarBot if you need API access to grammar checking functionality.