When learning English every student will run across a large number of tools that will prove helpful to some degree or another. From basic textbooks, books made strictly to exercise grammar, to apps and add-ons that make learning easier, each of these tools helps students increase their knowledge in a faster, more effective manner.

As the learning process progressed, more and more advanced and complex learning tools have appeared. Certain apps can help with a lot of aspects, from vocabulary building to grammar lessons, helping out with pronunciation, or just making the entire process more fun with the help of interactive games. These apps made the entire learning process more efficient by allowing students to use them outside of class during dead time they would normally waste while riding the bus or subway, or waiting in line for something.

Still, new doesn’t always mean better and even though improved textbooks and apps help a lot of students get better results there are some timeless tools that no student could possibly learn without.

The thesaurus is perhaps the most basic learning tool next to your average textbook. It can be used by all students, from beginners to intermediate or advanced ones and even by native speakers. For those who don’t know what a thesaurus is, it is a tool that allows students to search for the synonym or antonym of a certain word.

A thesaurus is one of the most versatile tools any English learner can possess, regardless of their level. Beginners can use it to expand their vocabulary by simply using it to learn a new word each day. Exercises based on a thesaurus can also help beginner students learn new words and formulate better and easier to understand sentences. Intermediate and advanced students can use a thesaurus to increase the quality of their writing and speaking skills.

An easy to access list of synonyms can greatly influence any writing assignment a student has. It also makes their writing sound more authentic, especially if the assignment is a creative writing one. It is a must have tool for any student who wishes to pursue a career in writing, as building a large vocabulary as early on as possible will be a key asset for a writer. It can also make the difference between someone who sounds like a native speaker and someone who is “pretty good” at speaking English. It will give a wealth of knowledge that can allow any student to sound comfortable while speaking, avoiding rigid terms, lack of descriptive terms or repeating the same set of words endlessly.

A word of warning though, overusing a thesaurus while performing a writing assignment can hurt you as much as help you. Overusing pretentious terms, or giving descriptions too large a part can make writing hard to read and even give it an amateur style. It is a great tool to use for building a vocabulary, however, it should be handled with care when used for writing purposes as it can have the adverse effect.