English has a large vocabulary with an estimated 250,000 distinct words and three times that many distinct meanings of words. However, most English teachers will tell you that mastering the 3000 most common words in English will give you 90 to 95% comprehension of English newspapers, books, movies, and conversations. In addition, with that size of a vocabulary, you'll easily be able to learn from context to expand your vocabulary as you go. The important thing is choosing the right words to learn so you gain comprehension quickly and don't waste time.
Building your English vocabulary is an essential part of learning to speak English. These lists will help you spend your time strategically.
Learn The Most Common Words First
One of the most effective ways to prioritize your English vocabulary studies is to start with the most common words. The table below gives you some short lists to get started with if you're a true beginner. Use a dictionary or other online resources to look up the meanings of words you don't know. Flashcards, either paper-based or online, are still one of the most effective ways to learn new words. The key to memorizing English vocabulary is regular practice.
This list of the 100 most common vocabulary words in English can be used as a reference for beginner English students. It's a good idea to master these words fully before trying to move on to less common words, since this is the vocabulary you will encounter most often. These are some of the first words that native English speaking children learn how to spell. You can also make sure that you not only recognize these words and know how to pronounce them, but that you can also spell them correctly. Mistakes in spelling these short, common words are more significant than mistakes spelling more complicated words you may learn later on.
50 Most Common Nouns In English
This is a list of the 50 most frequently used nouns in written English. Learning to use these nouns is a good starting place for any beginner English learner who wants to build up his English vocabulary. Nouns give you a concrete way to talk about the people, places, and things around you. However, too many English learners focus on memorizing long lists of nouns in the beginning. It's easy to get carried away, learning the names of all the animals at the zoo, all the tools in your toolbox, or all the types of clothing in your closet. While you may eventually learn all those nouns, mastering a shorter, more targeted list is a better use of your time. You can always look up more precise nouns as you need them. After all, how often do you need to talk about platform shoes or ferrets?
50 Most Common Adjectives In English
This list of the 50 most frequently used adjectives in English is a good place to start expanding your English vocabulary. Adjectives add precision to your language skills, but you don't necessarily need to have an enormous collection right from the start. The adjectives in this list are enough to get by with for many simple English tasks.
Getting More From Your Vocabulary Remember that you can negate adjectives if you don't know the opposite word yet, for example say, "It's not clear," if you don't know the word "confusing". You can also combine adjectives for added precision, for example say, "What you want is possible but hard," if you don't know the word "challenging". By learning to use these 50 adjectives correctly and applying a few "tricks" to make your life simpler, you'll expand your ability to communicate in English.
Learn New Vocabulary In A Logical Way
Once you've mastered the short vocabulary lists, you can move on to the more comprehensive ones below. Remember, although a native English speaker has a vocabulary of 20,000 words or more, learning just 3,000 words is enough to understand most of everyday English conversation and writing as long as you're working from the right list. The lists below are based on word frequency, so you won't find vocabulary like "tiger", "skirt", or "spaghetti", all common in beginner English lists but not all that useful. To learn English faster and more efficiently, focus on memorizing the most common vocabulary first, rather than a haphazard collection of words that you are unlikely to use.
With 2,500 to 3,000 words, you can understand 90% of everyday English conversations, English newspaper and magazine articles, and English used in the workplace. The remaining 10% you'll be able to learn from context, or ask questions about. However, it's essential to learn the right English vocabulary words, so you don't waste your time trying to memorize a huge collection with very little benefit. The list below seems long, but when you can use all these words with confidence, your English vocabulary will be fully functional.
Reproduced from publicly available articles on www.ef.com