How many words are there in the English language?
It is estimated that there are 171,476 words in the English Language, that means that you have a lot of work to do in the next few years if you want to grow your vocabulary size reach that limit. Don’t worry you don’t have to learn them all because 47,156 of those are obsolete so you can cross them out and forget about them.
If you do the math, You still have 124, 320 words to add to your vocabulary notebook. Let me tell that it will take you a long time to learn them all. The good news is that you don’t have to learn them all.
So if you don’t need to learn them all, How Many English are you Supposed to Know?
Well, there is no an exact number, actually, English Native Speaker don’t know how many words they know, as you might realize, it is hard to keep track of what you know or what you don’t know.
According to an article published in Test Your Vocab: The Blog “Most adult native test-takers range from 20,000–35,000 words”. However you shouldn’t be paying too much attention to that, the qeustion that you should be thinking is where do you start?
What are the Most Frequent Words in English?
In this day and age is not quite difficult to determine which words are used more frequently in the English Language. Actually this concern started a few decades ago when Michael West published a remarkable list several thousand important vocabulary words known as the General Service List (GSL) which was a list of words representing the most frequent words of English.
In March of 2013, on the 60th anniversary of West’s publication of the GSL, Dr. Brent Culligan & Joseph Phillips of Aoyama Gakuin Women’s Junior College and Dr. Charles Browne, Meiji Gakuin University announced the creation of a New General Service List (NGSL)
How Many Words are there in the New General Service List?
I don’t want to spoil the surprise, you can check the New General Service List and see for yourself. If you are reading this, it means that you might know lots of them.
Remember that English is not about learning isolated words, you have to learn how to use them. For example, if you already know the simple present, you’ll be surprise about how many sentences you can make with only 100 words
How Can the New General Service List can Grow and Improve your Vocabulary
#1 The New General Service List will boost your confidence because you can be sure that you know the vocabulary that is going to make a difference when you read, write, speak or listen in the target language. The more confident that you are in the language, the better.
#2 If you know the most common words in English, that will prepare you to learn more vocabulary beyond that list. For example, if you already mastered the words included in the New General Service List, You can spend some time checking the New Academic Word List.
Resources to Learn the New General Service List Words
New General Service List Flashcards ( Quizlet):
The NGSL can be studied on Memrise in blocks of 100 words via this set.