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Many Things

(reviewed Fall 2008)

Reviewer:  Suzana Alves

Recommendation:  Recommended


This is a very diverse web site aimed at a general audience of ESL/EFL students. The purpose of the site is to provide English language learners a variety of interesting and fun activities such as quizzes, word games, word puzzles, proverbs, slang expressions, anagrams, a random-sentence generator and other computer assisted language learning activities. Many Things was created by Charles I. Kelly and Lawrence E. Kelly, instructors at the Aichi Institute of Technology in Toyota, Japan.


On the Many Things web site, ESL/EFL learners will find interesting quizzes, puzzles, and games. It is an easy-to-navigate site, where learners can work independently. The site includes activities for all levels: easier ones for beginners and more difficult and challenging ones for advanced learners.

As an ESL student myself, I would recommend Many Things because it is a very well-organized Web site. Users do not have to register in order to use the site, and the activities are free of charge.

Users can search for activities on the Web site in two ways:
  1. On the left site of the screen the activities are grouped into sections such as vocabulary, grammar, pronunciation, listening, reading, spelling, and more. When a section is chosen, a list of activities related to the topic is given. If a user chooses the “vocabulary” section, for example, a list of activities related to English vocabulary appear including quizzes, matching activities, word drop games, hangman, word search, anagrams, flashcards and others. Once the activity is chosen, another list is presented, where the activities are divided according to learning level and/or topic (food, animals, color, clothes, etc).
  2. Use the “Menu for” section to search for activities. In this section, the topics are more specific and users can find an activity faster than in the first way described above. Let’s say, for example, that the user only wants to do “hangman” activities. All s/he needs to do is to choose the option hangman on the “menu for” and a list of hangman activities will quickly be shown on the screen.
In sampling different activities on the site, I found that one nice feature is that in almost every learning section, the purpose of that section is clearly stated under a heading labeled “Objectives.” Another great feature is that some feedback is always given when an activity is completed. Finally, I found that all the activities have very clear instructions.

In the “daily page” section, users can find activities which include the proverb of the day, the quiz for the day, listening, popular search engines, dictionaries and ESL/EFL selected links. This is a good section because learners can use it as part of their daily self-study time to practice their English skills or to easily and quickly review topics studied. Other useful sections are “what’s new,” “video,” and “popular.”

As a final note, even though Many Things is geared towards ESL/EFL learners, native speakers of English may also find interesting, useful and entertaining activities on this site.

In short, if someone is looking for a site with a variety of activities where learners can easily work independently, as the title implies, Many Things has a lot to offer. TESL/TEFL teachers may want to recommend this site to their students.

Subject Headings:  ESL students, ESL materials, self-study