Most Common English Words
English students often ask us what’s the #1 English learning hack as a beginner?
We always answer: learn the most common English words. Better yet, learn the first 100 as soon as you can.
The reason why you want to focus on the most common English words is because we rarely use all the words we have in our toolbelt. Think about how you speak your native language. You’ll find that you can have a great conversation in most situations by using only 20% of the vocabulary you already know.
I mean, when’s the last time you used to words ‘microchip’ or ‘tricycles’ in your conversation? If you did happen to use it, how long do you think it’ll be until you use it again? On the other hand, you’ll likely be using words like: ‘yes’, ‘as’, ‘what’, or ‘how’ in nearly every conversation you have with someone.
This is the simple language hack that will help you save months of time. Instead of focusing on the uncommon words that you’ll rarely use, just focus on the most common English words.
1,000 Most Common English words = 88% of comprehension
Studies show that…
Studying the first 1000 most frequently used words in the language will familiarize you with 76.0% of all vocabulary in non-fiction literature, 79.6% of all vocabulary in fiction literature, and 87.8% of vocabulary in oral speech.
Studying the 2000 most frequently used words will familiarize you with 84% of vocabulary in non-fiction, 86.1% of vocabulary in fictional literature, and 92.7% of vocabulary in oral speech.
And studying the 3000 most frequently used words will familiarize you with 88.2% of vocabulary in non-fiction, 89.6% of vocabulary in fiction, and 94.0% of vocabulary in oral speech.
What does this study mean in short?
It means that once you get past a certain number of the most common words, you get massively diminishing words. While the first 1,000 frequent words enabled you to know 88% of the oral speech, learning double that amount (2,000 words) only gave you a 5% boost.
Instead of focusing on learning 2x the amount of words that you need, you can spend that time improving your speaking skills, grammar skills, or any other weaknesses you may have in the English language.
Here’s a visual illustration to give you an idea.
100 Most Common English Words
To save you time, we’ve curated the 100 most common English words that you can write down, copy and paste, or print out for reference. If you’re interested in finding out the other 900 list of the most common Englishwords, here they are:
|1. the||21. at||41. there||61. some||81. my|
|2. of||22. be||42. use||62. her||82. than|
|3. and||23. this||43. an||63. would||83. first|
|4. a||24. have||44. each||64. make||84. water|
|5. to||25. from||45. which||65. like||85. been|
|6. in||26. or||46. she||66. him||86. call|
|7. is||27. one||47. do||67. into||87. who|
|8. you||28. had||48. how||68. time||88. oil|
|9. that||29. by||49. their||69. has||89. its|
|10. it||30. word||50. if||70. look||90. now|
|11. he||31. but||51. will||71. two||91. find|
|12. was||32. not||52. up||72. more||92. long|
|13. for||33. what||53. other||73. write||93. down|
|14. on||34. all||54. about||74. go||94. day|
|15. are||35. were||55. out||75. see||95. did|
|16. as||36. we||56. many||76. number||96. get|
|17. with||37. when||57. then||77. no||97. come|
|18. his||38. your||58. them||78. way||98. made|
|19. they||39. can||59. these||79. could||99. may|
|20. I||40. said||60. so||80. people||100. part|
How to learn the most common English words
Now that you know how to get the best bang for your time, how do you start learning them? Well, we have some suggestions for you:
Anki is a digital flashcard app that allows you to create easy-to-memorize flashcards online. You can use this tool by inserting 100 of the most common English words inside, and start testing yourself today. We should note that the user interface is not our favorite, but the tool does what it promises, which is helping you memorize new words faster!
Memrise is an online tool and community that allows you to create and use digital flashcards to memorize anything. The major benefit of Memrise is the pre-designed templates for just about any language you can imagine, including Spanish, French, and of course, English.
Here’s a channel on Memrise that teaches you 504 of the most common English words with audio!
“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”
This quotation just about sums up the success rate of just about any language learner (or anyone looking to create change) when they decide to go at it alone. While it seems easy enough when you get started, the road ahead is murky, and most often than not, you find yourself wasting time, losing motivation, and lacking accountability.
Rype offers an easy and affordable way to connect with the top handpicked professional language teachers. These teachers will not only help you learn the most common English words, but help you reach fluency in English faster. It’s a complete package to help you get to where you want to go, whether you want to learn English for business, career, travel, or more.
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