One of the most intimidating things about learning English is the huge number of words to know. English has over 100,000 word families, which are words with the same root (like “played”, “playful” and “playing” which all share the root word “play”). It also gains around three new words every day… yikes!
But research shows that there’s no reason to be scared. Why? Because you will be able to understand about 65% of all written material in the English language with only the 300 most frequently used words. Keep reading to learn more or discover online English lessons for beginnerson Preply.
The 300 most common words in English
We’ve collected the most common English words below, split into the major word classes (verbs, nouns, adjectives, and adverbs) and four more word classes (prepositions, pronouns, conjunctions, and contractions). If you see some words repeated in these lists, don’t forget that many English words can be in more than one class.
Most common verbs in English
Verbs are “doing” words that express a specific action. The most common English verbs are:
Download a list of the most common verbs for free
Most common nouns in English
Nouns are words that name something — a person, a place or a thing. The most common English nouns are:
Most common adjectives in English
Adjectives are words used to describe nouns or pronouns. The most frequent English adjectives are:
Most common adverbs in English
Adverbs are used to change the meaning of a verb, adjective or another adverb. Aside from the most common ones below, you can usually spot adverbs by looking for words that end in ‘-ly’. The most common English adverbs are:
Most common prepositions in English
Prepositions are words that link nouns, pronouns or phrases with other words in a sentence. The most common English prepositions are:
Most common pronouns in English
Pronouns are words that replace nouns. They are used to avoid repeating nouns over and over again, making sentences easier to understand. The most common English pronouns are:
Most common conjunctions in English
Conjunctions connect words, clauses and sentences together. The most frequently used English conjunctions are:
Most common contractions in English
Contractions are shortened versions of words, which cut out letters and replace them with an apostrophe (’). The most common English contractions are:
4 great ways to learn new English words
Now that you know the words you need to get started, the next step is to ask, “How can I learn them?” Take a look below at our top tips to grow your English vocabulary.
Are flashcards still a useful way to learn a language?
The short answer is: yes! The longer answer is: yes, but they should be used to support other learning activities. Flashcards help you learn new vocabulary through repetition, repetition, repetition. By focusing more on what you don’t know, you can build new connections in your mind and improve your memory of new words. Testing yourself with flashcards is also strangely satisfying, especially when you look back at the number of new English words you’ve mastered!
Flashcard apps allow you to identify which words you need to work on and which you already know. Some great flashcard apps are:
- Memrise: Test your knowledge with this addictive flashcard app with interactive features. Learn more of the benefits in our Memrise vs Rosetta Stone review.
- Quizlet: Study your target language with ready-made flashcards, or make your own.
- Preply: Import words your tutor shared in your online lessons, or add any word you want to learn!
Write a diary
Another great way to grow your English vocabulary is to write a diary every day.
When you write a diary, you’ll learn and reinforce the most frequently used words in your daily life. You’ll also figure out which words are missing from your vocabulary. As the days pass, you can go back and see the amazing progress you’ve made and the new words you’ve learned. Seeing your progress in this way is extremely motivating, and keeps you learning!
If you’re learning the most common words in English, a diary is an amazing technique to use these words in context. Give it a try!
Practice by speaking
Once you’ve learned the most common English words, you have plenty of material to start a real English conversation.
You can learn so much by speaking to people on language exchange apps, friends, family members and during 1-on-1 lessons with an expert English tutor. In fact, research conducted at the University of Montreal discovered that repeating words out loud to another person is more effective for memorization than saying them aloud to yourself.
The more you speak with other people, the more you’ll use the most common English words, and the more your fluency and memory will develop. You’ll definitely make mistakes when you speak. But the more mistakes you make, the faster you’ll see progress!
Create your own word lists
Before making a word list, ask yourself this key question: “What will I spend my time doing with this language?”
With this question in mind, you can create your own word lists which focus on the vocabulary you will need every day. For example, if you work in finance, you might need to use the word “assets” much more than you would “flowers.” If you continue to see common words, whether it’s during your work, with your friends, or inside the English stories you read, write them down!
Create your own word lists in a spreadsheet, notepad, or app, and update them every time you pick up an important new word.
Why you don’t need as many words as you think
Have you ever heard of the 80/20 principle? This fascinating idea is well-known in economics and business. It explains that with many skills, 20% of your time and energy generates 80% of your results. The same rule can be applied to language learning, too.
With this in mind, let’s take a look at the research of Dr. Edward Fry, who collected the most common English words for his book Dr. Fry’s 1000 Instant Words. He found that the 25 most commonly used words appear in a huge 30% of written material in English. The first 100 are used in about 50%, and the first 300 are used in about 65%. Dr. Fry’s findings mean that with the 300 most common words in English, you can understand the majority of texts written in the language.
When we spoke to Olly Richards (who knows eightforeign languages), we found that learning the most common words is the first step he takes to learn any language fast. He said:
What most people don’t realize is that when you use really simple dialogues, they will contain the 100 or 200 most common words in the language which are used over 50% of the time. So if you learn the most common 100 words in a language, you will understand 50% of everything you hear. This blows people’s minds when they first hear it!
Pretty incredible, huh?
Grow the vocabulary you need with a tutor
We’ve already discussed some powerful tactics for learning new vocabulary. If you want more tips to expand your vocabulary, check out the article on how to memorize new words in English.
However, research shows that the fastest way to learn new words and speak a language is (unsurprisingly) to speak it! That’s why learning with an online tutor, or taking corporate english training,can take your English to the next level. With your own tutor, you’ll be speaking from lesson one, and will quickly understand which words are missing from your vocabulary. Your tutor will also put together a plan so you can grow the vocabulary you need.
There’s nothing more motivating than seeing your vocabulary grow from 300 simple words, to 600 and even more. Before you know it, you’ll be building sentences with confidence!
Why are the most common words important to know?
Knowing the most common words in English is essential for improving your language skills. By familiarizing yourself with these words, you can enhance your vocabulary, comprehension, and communication abilities. If you want to reach a conversational level in English, knowing these words is a must.
Where can I find a list of the 300 most common words in English?
We have listed the 300 most common words in English above, and broken them down by category so you can add them to your vocabulary easily.
How should I study the most common words in English?
There are various effective methods for studying the most common words in English. Flashcards, vocabulary exercises, reading books or articles that use these words, and practicing conversations are all great ways to internalize and use them in context.
Are the most common words the same across all English-speaking countries?
Generally, the most common words in English remain consistent across different English-speaking countries. However, there may be slight regional variations in terms of idiomatic expressions, slang, or specific vocabulary related to local culture.
How long does it take to learn the most common words in English?
The time required to learn the most common words in English can vary depending on your learning style, dedication, and the amount of time you invest. With consistent effort and practice, you can become familiar with these words within a few weeks or months.
- Keep an organised vocabulary notebook.
- Look at the words again after 24 hours, after one week and after one month.
- Read, read, read. ...
- Use the new words. ...
- Do word puzzles and games like crosswords, anagrams and wordsearches.
- Make word cards and take them with you. ...
- Learn words with a friend.
You probably can't master one word a day. Forget about 100. But you can certainly learn 100 words in a day. Sure, you can't learn everything you could ever need to know about these 100 words, and memorise all that information, but you can certainly get a basic understanding of 100 words in a day.How to learn 200 words a day? ›
- Start small. ...
- Build up your memory gradually. ...
- Learn memory tricks (mnemonics) ...
- Visual memory and imagination. ...
- Repeat and refine your memory tricks. ...
- Try reading the definitions in English. ...
- The power of routine. ...
For around 1 hour of learning and 30 minutes or less testing (so no more than 1 and a half hours a day, maybe less if you become efficient at this), you can EASILY learn 100+ words.How can I memorize 100 words fast? ›
- Use Memory Techniques. ...
- Create a learning environment. ...
- Put the words in context. ...
- Learn from real-life situations. ...
- Take it to the next level. ...
- Find the tools that work for you. ...
- Make it interactive. ...
- Focus on useful words.
What are the twelve powerful words? Trace, Analyze, Infer, Evaluate, Formulate, Describe, Support, Explain, Summarize, Compare, Contrast, Predict. Why use the twelve powerful words? These are the words that always give students more trouble than others on standardized tests.What are the 10 hardest words? ›
- Literally. If you know a language purist, watch out. ...
- Ironic. Here is a word that has confused almost all English speakers – native or otherwise. ...
- Irregardless (instead of regardless) ...
- Whom. ...
- Colonel. ...
- Nonplussed. ...
- Disinterested. ...
- Watch movies in English. ...
- Immerse yourself in English language news. ...
- Start a vocabulary book of useful words. ...
- Have conversations in English. ...
- Practice, practice, practice. ...
- Curiosity doesn't always kill the cat. ...
- Don't forget to have fun while you learn.
- Start speaking as soon as possible.
- Start reading.
- Make yourself accountable.
- Set more useful targets than “I will become fluent”
- Keep your personal goal in mind.
- Try flashcards to boost your vocabulary.
- Learn whole sentences.
- Sing along.
That's it: 50 new words, every day. That's 18,250 words in the space of a year, the approximate size of the (active) vocabulary of a native speaker.How many words should I memorize a day? ›
You can use any range you like, of course. But for me, the sweet spot is about 15 new words a day. If I'm focusing really hard for a short period, I can double that. Usually, though, I stick right to that 15-word range and enjoy steady long-term results.How can I memorize a lot in one day? ›
- First, encode the information in your mind using a mnemonic device, such as the substitution method.
- Link this information to a story or memory palace to ensure you can easily recall it later.
- Practice spaced repetition to combat the forgetting curve and retain the information.
I easily write at least 2,500+ words a day, and while it may seem like an impossible task to some, it is attainable for any writer – even if you don't have much free time for writing. To be truthful, 2,500 words for me is kind of on the low end of word counts – many days I write between 3,000 – 5,000 words!Is 2000 words a day good? ›
Stephen King: 2000 Words
In his memoir, King says it's best to write a minimum of 2000 words a day to avoid “the smooch of death.” “Read and write four to six hours a day. If you cannot find the time for that, you can't expect to become a good writer.”
You can actually learn 300, 400 or 500 words a day or more . . . but let's just take it slow, and aim for a mere 200 words a day. Hey, why burst a blood vessel? Relax, take a chill pill and smile your way through the learning process!How long does it take to do 300 words? ›
Writing 300 words will take about 7.5 minutes for the average writer typing on a keyboard and 15 minutes for handwriting. However, if the content needs to include in-depth research, links, citations, or graphics such as for a blog article or high school essay, the length can grow to 1 hours.How long is 300 words time? ›
This means reading 300 words will take you between 1.5 and 2.4 minutes.How many English words can I learn per day? ›
While it's tempting to try and learn as many words as possible each day, quality is more important than quantity. Focus on mastering practical and useful words, and you'll be well on your way to achieving your language learning goals. In conclusion, aim to learn between 10-20 new words in English each day.What are the 3 power full words? ›
Improvise, adapt and overcome. These three words have been a lifesaver for me in certain situations and I'm excited to break them down for you.
From his centuries of experience, Merlin has discovered that the answer to these cosmic questions are seven simple words: gratitude, courage, knowledge, belief, wonder, generosity, hope, and love.What are 10 big words? ›
- Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis. ...
- Floccinaucinihilipilification. ...
- Incomprehensibility. ...
- Trichotillomania. ...
- Xenotransplantation. ...
- Tergiversation. ...
- Uncopyrightable. ...
Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis is the longest word entered in the most trusted English dictionaries.How can I practice English speaking? ›
- Change your smart speaker settings. Do you have one or more smart speakers at home? ...
- Talk to yourself! ...
- Narrate your everyday life. ...
- Try shadowing. ...
- Read aloud. ...
- Practise speaking with friends. ...
- Play online games. ...
- Take online classes led by an expert English speaker.
- Reading and Comprehension. ...
- Good Listening Skills. ...
- Public Speaking. ...
- Writing. ...
- The Ability to Communicate in More than One Language.
- Perfect Your Pronunciation. ...
- Select Words Carefully. ...
- Read. ...
- Write. ...
- Listen, Listen, Listen. ...
- Practice Long Speeches. ...
- Examine Unique Characteristics of the Language. ...
- Look for a Language Buddy.
- Watch English Movies & TV Series. ...
- Make Use Of Online Courses. ...
- Read A Lot. ...
- Don't Be Scared To Make Mistakes. ...
- Talk To Yourself In English. ...
- Talk To People In English. ...
- Focus On Your Goal. ...
- Always Make Notes.
One efficient method to memorize a large amount of information is called the "chunking" technique. Divide the 300 words into smaller groups of 5-7 words and try to memorize each group separately. Once you have memorized a group, move on to the next one. Another technique is the "repetition" method.
This is a legitimate question and one that many learners ask themselves. Some linguists believe that 800 words are enough to hold a basic conversation. However, your vocabulary should be over 8,000 words if you want to speak a language as well as a native speaker.How much can a brain memorize in a day? ›
Within 24 hours, that number goes up to an average of 70%! Just our cerebral cortex alone has a storage capacity of 74 Terabytes! Yahoo's 2.0 petabyte computational center, which can process 24 billion “events” a day, is a jaw-dropping 20% smaller than the capacity of a single human brain!What is the best time to memorize words? ›
Learning is most effective when the brain is in acquisition mode, generally between 10:00 am to 2:00 p.m. and then again from 4:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.How to memorize 30 words a day? ›
The best way to remember new words is to put them into practice straightaway. Try to compose a sentence with the new word or phrase or use it in your next conversation later the same day. This way, it will move into your active vocabulary and you will feel more confident using it in your speaking or writing.How many times do you have to write a word to memorize it? ›
Basically, these studies suggest that the number of repetitions needed to learn a word is about 10-15 times, with lots of variation — among kids and words. For example, poor readers may require 12-25 reps to “learn” a word, while better readers may get away with only 8-12 (Lemoine, Levy, & Hutchison, 1993).What are the 3 R's of memorization? ›
3 'R's: Remember It, Recall It, Retain It.What is the 1247 technique? ›
What is 1247 Technique? Its a memory technique wherein you should revise whatever you have studied thrice after the 1st study. So effectively, you will study 4 times in 1-2-4-7 order.Why is it so hard for me to memorize? ›
Major memory changes don't always signal Alzheimer's disease. They can be caused by strokes, head injuries, lack of vitamins in your diet, or sleep trouble. They might even be a side effect of one of the drugs you're taking. When in doubt, see a doctor to sort it out.Can you write 40000 words in a day? ›
Writing 40,000 words will take about 16.7 hours for the average writer typing on a keyboard and 33.3 hours for handwriting. However, if the content needs to include in-depth research, links, citations, or graphics such as for a blog article or high school essay, the length can grow to 133.3 hours.Is 250 words a day good? ›
It seems like 250 words a day still isn't enough to complete an entire novel, but you know what? 250 words a day every day for eleven months is 83,750 words! A superb length for most novels, including adult, including YA. If you're writing a science fiction or fantasy epic, maybe aim for 400–500 words a day.
How many pages is 3000 words? Single spaced, 3000 words yields about 6 pages, while double spacing produces around 12 pages. Depending on your word processor and preferences the page count may vary slightly, but with typical margins and 12 point Arial or Times New Roman font you should expect a similar number of pages.How many words did Stephen King write a day? ›
Stephen King: 2,000 Words
In his book On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, King speaks on his writing speed. He would set a daily goal of about 2,000 words. This would add up to about 180,000 words in three months of writing.
Writing 100,000 words will take about 41.7 hours for the average writer typing on a keyboard and 83.3 hours for handwriting. However, if the content needs to include in-depth research, links, citations, or graphics such as for a blog article or high school essay, the length can grow to 333.3 hours.How many hours do writers work? ›
Erica Vetsch: The true answer is—it depends. If I'm on a deadline of some kind, I can write from 4-6 hours a day. Mostly, I write from 2-4 hours on weekday afternoons. I do lots of other writing tasks like editing, marketing, blogging, etc, but for writing on the manuscript, I average about 3 hours per weekday.What is the best way to memorize faster? ›
- Try to understand the information first. Information that is organized and makes sense to you is easier to memorize. ...
- Link it. ...
- Sleep on it. ...
- Self-test. ...
- Use distributed practice. ...
- Write it out. ...
- Create meaningful groups. ...
- Use mnemonics.
So, the key takeaway of this article is that you will need about 30 to 50 seconds to memorize a word. But you need to give the words about 6 to 12 exposures over a period of time to covert the knowledge in your long-term memories. Finally, you can adopt many different strategies to efficiently memorize a word.How many words can a human memorize in a day? ›
That's it: 50 new words, every day. That's 18,250 words in the space of a year, the approximate size of the (active) vocabulary of a native speaker.How can I study fast without forgetting in 5 minutes? ›
- Make sure you understand what you need to learn. ...
- Make connections to information you already know. ...
- Use the Pomodoro technique. ...
- Use mnemonics. ...
- Use the Memory Palace technique. ...
- Write new information down.
- Use flashcards (in moderation!)
- Try learning example sentences.
- Use it or lose it.
- Look up new words (the right way!)
- Write words down.
- Keep a notebook handy.
- Try using the plural form or different tenses.
- Use mnemonics.
Most adult native test-takers have a vocabulary range of about 20,000-35,000 words. Adult native test-takers learn almost 1 new word a day until middle age. Vocabulary growth stops at middle age.