Duolingo Review: Learn English Online

Duolingo Review

In this review we will look at:

What is Duolingo?

How much does Duolingo cost?

The Benefits of Duolingo

The Problems of Duolingo

Is Duolingo worth it? Is it good?

The Duolingo English test



My name is Conor and I am an English teacher from Ireland. 

I love learning languages and helping people to learn English online.

What is Duolingo?

Duolingo is an online platform and app where you can learn English and many other languages. You learn vocabulary with pictures at the early levels and then as you progress, you translate sentences from your own language into English and from English into your own language. You can collect “lingots” to unlock bonuses and you receive these lingots if you practice every day or if you complete a lesson with no mistakes. 

How do you sign up for Duolingo?

You just need to go to www.duolingo.com and create a free account.

They will ask you why you are studying English and you can give your main reason.

After that, you can start at the beginning or take a level test and start at the right level for you.

Some example lessons

Duolingo English lesson

At the beginning, you see pictures like the one above and decide the correct option.

Other lessons ask you to translate the sentences that you hear. It gets more and more difficult and at higher levels, you won’t have the words written like in this example.

How much does Duolingo cost?

Duolingo is free to use with the website and the app. This is a great advantage and you can learn some English for free which is amazing. Similar programs like Rosetta Stone cost hundreds of dollars in the past. There is a premium subscription that costs $6.99 per month for extra features and you support Duolingo. For most people, the free version is perfect.

The benefits of Duolingo

1. It is great for beginners

When you start learning a language, you need beginner vocabulary to learn the basics but you also need to listen a lot to understand the sounds of English. If you feel like learning English is a big challenge, then Duolingo is a great place to start. You can learn the absolute basics well before you start speaking to people. 

2. It is free

Learning English usually costs money. You need to pay for a teacher, a book, a school. Duolingo has provided a free way for millions of people to improve their English level and I would like to thank them for that.

3. Community answers

This is probably the most valuable part of Duolingo for me. I found some great explanations from native speakers. You can find this in the discuss section of each lesson.

Because Duolingo doesn’t provide a lot of context, then there are a lot of misunderstandings when you are doing the lessons. You can learn a lot from the discussion about each sentence and how it might work in different contexts. I have seen full grammar lessons in the discussion section, so if you are not 100% sure about something, this is a great place to learn.

4. It is fun (At the beginning!)

Duolingo tries to make the game fun by giving you points and “lingots” and you can even compete against your friends. This can keep you motivated at the beginning and some people really enjoy this competition. I need to see real people and real conversation after some time so I got bored after a while.

The Problems with Duolingo

Most of the problems I have with Duoling come from the fact that Duolingo uses recordings that do not replicate real conversations.

  • No real speaking practice

My message when learning English is to speak as much as possible and study too. Speaking practice is one of the most difficult skills to practice alone. You will not improve your speaking skills if you watch Netflix, listen to podcasts on Spotify or use Duolingo. The only way to practice speaking is to speak with people, and that is why I recommend Cambly.   

  • Learning a language without context

We use context so much when we are trying to understand each other. The language in Duolingo can be random and therefore can be interpreted in different ways by different people. People use English in different ways around the world and maybe a sentence could mean something different in different parts of the world but we don’t learn this with Duolingo.  

  • Repetitive/Boring 

I personally found Duolingo a bit boring after 15 hours using it. You want to connect with a real human and translating sentences for hours can get very boring. I wish there was something for more advanced learners that is a little different to understand the nuances of the English language. People learn from people(through emotional connections).

Is Duolingo worth it? Is it good?

Duolingo is a great start to learning a language and should be one of your first tools to use when you start learning English.  I don’t think that Duolingo is effective in practicing the most important parts of English (Speaking, Listening, Grammar). If you have an intermediate level or above, I would recommend courses by Espresso English and classes on Cambly.

Pro Tip!

The stories are a great way to practice your listening skills. These stories use context and the dialogues they use are excellent.

Duolingo English test (Price)

Duolingo now provides tests to prove your level of English. You can take the test for $49. The test takes one hour to complete and you get the result in 2 days. It is accepted by more than 500 Universities around the world. You can find a quick practice test here.

I hope this review helps you with your language learning journey. If you have any questions, leave them in the comments and I will help you.