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41 Basic English Words That Every Beginner Should Already Know

Ready to begin learning English words? You’re at the right place.

When starting at the beginning, many English learners choose different paths to memorize their new tongue. Some look to start new conversations while others focus on areas of interest to begin. This is a strategy employed by many travelers. Meanwhile, others learn the curse words in English and go from there.

Another approach is to learn the basics of the language. Learn the most English common words first. Pursuing this route should leave you with a foundation of words to understand and use in a variety of circumstances.

English has tons of basic words you need to know. These 40+ basic English words will get you moving in the right direction.

41 Simple English Words That Every Beginner Should Already Know

English Nouns

1. People

People (and the singular 'person') is a basic English word for someone learning the basics of the language. It ranks in the top 40 percentile of words used in the language. And unless you plan to live a remote existence, this word will come up often in your dialogue.
Good example: There are so many people in Times Square!

2. Thing

'Thing' is one of the most common words a basic English speaker should know. It's broad, vague and perfect for countless interactions.
Good examples: What is that thing?, That is my favorite thing to do!, Do you remember the name of that thing?

3. Time

'Time' ranks in the top 10% in popular English words. This word helps you ask recall the past, schedule time for the future and establish the present moment.
Good examples: Do you remember that time we went to Disneyland?, What time should we meet?, What time is it?

4. Day

While it won’t be the most common noun English speakers use, ‘day’ is an effective noun to know as you begin learning the language.
Good examples: Have a great day!, How is your day?, What day is it?

5. Man

Whether discussing an individual or the concept of humanity, ‘man’ is a word English speakers use quite often.
Good example: That man is wearing a hat.

6. Woman

Women make up almost 50% of the global population. Just like ‘man,’ ‘woman’ and its other forms is a key word to understand in English.
Good example: I am a woman, and so are you.

7. Child

Along with ‘children’, this word ranks in the top 20% of English words.
Good example: The woman took her son to the pool.

Verbs in English

8. (To) Be

'Be' is used as both an auxiliary and intransitive word. Its other tenses (was, were, been) make it virtually impossible to go a day without speaking some of these basic English words.
Good example: I want to be a doctor after college.

9. Have

Another essential in the verbs category, this word indicates what you or someone holds.
Good example: I have three meetings today.

10. Do

One of English’s most versatile words. Once you know ‘do’ and its other tenses, the language becomes much easier to understand.
Good examples: I have so much to do today., What did you do?

11. Say

While not as common as the other verbs mentioned in this list, ‘say’ is a huge help for beginners.
Good examples: How do you say this word?, What did you say?

12. Go

Know this word and its tenses to express an array of movement.
Good examples: Where do you want to go today?, I have to go to the store.

13. Get

Similar to ‘have,’ this word is a basic English word essential to expressing possession.
Good examples: I get to see my parents tonight., What did you get for your anniversary?

14. Make

'Make' and its other tenses help speakers express an array of actions. From preparing to creating, 'make' is a word you will use this verb quite often.
Good example: My family taught me how to make our famous recipes.

15. Know

If you want to express your understanding of an idea or situation, ‘know’ is the word a basic English speaker needs to use.
Good example: I know that Saturday is the day after Friday.

16. See

Vision is essential. If you want to verbalize your vision, this is the word to use.
Good examples: I see that your shirt is blue., Do you see your brother over there?

17. Come

Another verb for movement. Knowing this word will help you also express arrivals and other uses you will understand as your learning progresses.
Good examples: Come here, please., Can you come to the office this afternoon?

18. Look

Along with ‘see,’ look expresses your vision or to command someone’s attention. It also is used to represent research, editing and other thorough examinations of subjects.
Good examples: Look towards the teacher., I’ll look up the best restaurants on Yelp.

19. Want

This is the word for basic English speakers when they need to show their desire for something.
Good examples: I want to eat my lunch., What do you want to do this weekend?

20. Use

When wanting to put something into effect, this is the word to use. From basic to complicated English concepts, ‘use’ is the word to - well - use.
Good example: Your bedroom could use a good cleaning.

Verb Conjugations in English

21. As

'As' can be used when comparing something or being specific.
Good example: He’s twice as tall as his next sibling., As a police officer, he understands the law quite well.

22. And

'And' is one of the most popular, versatile and basic words in English. It can be used to indicate connections, express a balance as well as join other verbs.
Good examples: 1 and 3 equals 4., Today’s weather is hot and humid.

23. But

Often used in a negative sense, 'but' contradicts the previous statement.
Good examples: I love ice cream but I’m allergic to dairy., I was sleeping but only after I worked all night.

24. Before

This word explains the recent and not so recent past. It’s not as common as other conjunctions, but it is a helpful word beginners should become familiar with.
Good examples: Before I moved to England, I lived in Mexico., Could you repeat what you said before?

25. After

Before’s antonym. Use this word to express time after an event has occurred.
Good example: After the fireworks, we cleaned up our campground and went home.

26. When

While not the most common word, ‘when’ is helpful in asking a range of questions related to time. It also works when describing times from the past. Good examples: When will you get home tonight? He liked to say he knew her when she wasn’t a celebrity.

English Prepositions

27. Of

'Of' works in many ways. It can be used to express a relationship between verb and object, or a part and a whole. It's a useful 'must-know' word.
Good examples:
The leg of her pants., He was the king of kings when playing chess.

28. In

'In' works when describing both space, time or something more abstract.
Good examples: In Spain, the sun shines bright., We walked in the park for hours., In politics, it’s a dangerous game.

29. To

'To' is another excellent versatile word. It describes movement, direction, purpose and even relation in time.
Good example: To infinity, and beyond! From 1985 to 2001, they lived in the house at the corner.

30. For

Another versatile word to learn. While it has several uses, 'for' is one to remember when intending ownership and purpose for the most part.
Good examples: Those bags are for your mother., We walked for days to get to the end of the road.

31. With

When accompanied by a trait or physical being, 'with' is the word to use.
Good example: I am playing baseball with my cousin today.

32. On

If you are standing on top, attached or covering something, 'on' works in every scenario. No wonder it is one of the most popular words in the language.
Good example: He sits on a chair on the hill.

33. At

Use 'at' to describe your location in time or place.
Good examples: I will be at the cafe at 5 pm.

34. From

'From' is a bit like at, except that it indicates a point of origin.
Good example: The flight arrives from Miami in one hour.

35. Like

This is a great word for pointing out similar figures or ideas. However, it also works as a way to express your happiness with something.
Good examples: The baby wailed like a banshee all night., I like winter the most.

Interjections

36. Hey/Hi (mention one being more formal)

Both words are important to know. You will likely hear ‘hey’ more often, but ‘hi’ is a more formal approach without saying ‘hello.’
Good examples: Hey, how are you today?, Hi, I’m doing well, thanks.

37. Now

Like ‘before’ and ‘after’ now indicates the time at the present moment.
Good example: Now would be a good time to start working.

38. Please

Use this when asking for help or ordering an item from a vendor.
Good examples: Can you please help me with this question?, Give me a coffee, please.  

39. What

Use this word to seek information on specific topics or subjects.
Good examples: What did you do last night?, He said what?

40. Yes

An essential word to English. Use this word to agree or accept something.
Good examples: Yes it is hot today., Yes, I agree that it is hot today.

41. No

To signal a negative response, the opposite of ‘yes’ works best.
Good examples: No, I don’t like chocolate., You have no idea how much I don’t like chocolate.

Hope this list of basic English words was useful for you. Is there a word that we missed out on?

Let us know below and share it with the community!

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