Best American sitcoms for learning English fast

Add these sitcoms to your English lessons and speed up your language learning.

Sitcoms provide a fun and easy way to speed up the progress you’re making with your English lessons. Whether you’re learning online, in the classroom, alone or as part of a group, a little TV watching can actually help improve your English language comprehension, pronunciation and more.

What’s a sitcom?

Sitcom is short for situation comedy. It’s a type of television comedy that features the same regular cast of characters reacting to a range of funny, embarrassing or unusual situations. It’s usually set in the same place each week, like a family home or a workplace.

Why watch sitcoms?

  • Improve your vocabulary – you’ll find a huge range of sitcoms to choose from, each giving you access to a whole new set of vocabulary. Sitcoms have been set in office environments, in government, hospitals, schools, the entertainment industry, family homes, restaurants, bars, flatshares and more – so you’ll hear words that are common to a range of environments.
  • Learn ‘real’ English – the language used in sitcoms if often far more realistic than that used in strict grammar textbooks. By watching sitcoms you’ll become used to the way people really talk on the street, in their homes, among their friends and in the workplace.
  • A fun way to learn – when you’re tired of the same old grammar books, turning on a comedy show is a great way to chill out (relax) and learn English at the same time. By varying your learning routine and including a mixture of resources, including books, video, audio and more, you help to keep your brain stimulated. You’ll be having more fun, staying motivated and as a result you’ll speed up your English language learning.
  • Listening exercise – while you sit back and watch TV you’re actually taking part in a listening exercise. You’ll be hearing a range of accents and dialects, and learning how English is spoken in the real world. This will help you improve your listening comprehension and fluency skills, fast.
  • Pronunciation – worried about your pronunciation skills? Compare the way you pronounce words with the characters in the show for an instant lesson.

Which sitcoms?

Friends

Rachel, Ross, Phoebe, Joey, Monica and Chandler are friends living, working and, occasionally, sleeping together in New York. They fight, they fall in and out of love, and have a lot of fun along the way. This is one of the most successful sitcoms of all time, so wherever you’re from in the world you’ve likely seen it dubbed into your own native language!

Want to know how friends talk to each other in America? Give Friends a try. You’ll get to hear real conversational English delivered naturally, which will help improve your own fluency too. The dialogue is delivered clearly, and the jokes are nice and easy to follow – so you’ll definitely get a laugh while you learn.

Frasier

This is a spin-off of the hugely successful sitcom Cheers. Frasier Krane is a psychiatrist who has moved from Boston to Seattle to become a radio host. Listeners call in with their problems and he’s supposed to help them – although his own life is full of as many ups and downs as his callers.

Frasier’s a great show for language learners as the English spoken on the show is very clear. Playing a radio host, Frasier’s language is very accessible and his pronunciation is clear. For anyone interested in studying psychiatry or psychology you’ll pick up some useful subject-specific language too.

Roseanne

Roseanne Conner lives with her husband Dan and three kids, Darlene, Becky and DJ. They’re overweight, underpaid and are a typical family in middle America. The show was ground-breaking and stood out from other family sitcoms that often portrayed perfect ‘squeaky clean’ families, as the Conners were working class, unglamorous….and hilarious.

Family issues, relationships, friendship and emotions are all shared openly in Roseanne. You’ll get to hear language relating to all of these things. Part of Roseanne’s charm is that she’s strong, sarcastic and cynical, so you’ll get to grips with the idea of sarcasm used for laughs too.

Grey’s Anatomy

One of the best medical sitcoms. Drama, relationships, work and personal issues mix as you follow the life of Dr. Meredith Grey. She’s training to become a surgeon and the show follows her progress in a Seattle hospital along with fellow trainee and accomplished doctors.

You’ll not only pick up a lot of idiomatic English expressions, you’ll also get to grips with a lot of medical and scientific terminology. Their use of medical English is precise, which is ideal if you plan on studying medicine, science or health subjects.

Thinking of becoming a lawyer? Brush up on your legal English with Ally McBeal and Boston Legal. Dream of working in TV? Try The Larry Sanders Show and 30 Rock.

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