How many words would be enough?

How many words would be enough?

20 May 2013Mehdi Safavi 6
The Second Edition of the 20-volume Oxford English Dictionary contains full entries for 171,476 words in current use, and 47,156 obsolete words: A total of 218,632 words! But nobody would need to learn all the words in the dictionary!

A native English speaker understands approximately 20,000 words by the time he/she finishes college, and the number of words they actually use is much much smaller.

As an English learner (especially if you are preparing for IELTS), you need to have a large vocabulary - about 6,000 to 7,000 word families according to recent research - to function effectively in an English-speaking environment.
 
Still want a shorter list?! OK, how about 3000 general words plus 570 academic words:

General Vocabulary (3000)
 
The Oxford 3000 word list has been carefully selected by a group of language experts and experienced teachers as the words which should receive priority in vocabulary study because of their importance and usefulness. They are shown in the dictionary in larger print, and with a key symbol immediately following.
 
See the complete list
 
 

Academic Word List (570)
 
The AWL is a list of words which appear with high frequency in English-language academic texts. You will need to know this vocabulary if you want to study in an English-speaking college or university. In fact, because these words are so common, they are even useful to those who do not plan to go on to post-secondary study in English. These are words that you will frequently see in newspapers, magazines, and novels, and hear on television, movies or in conversation.
 
See the complete list

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6 Comments

  1. Mehrdad Rabiei

    2 years ago
    Reply

    many institutes and people suggest 504 and 1100 words! How about these books?

    • Kasra Sharifan Admin  Mehrdad Rabiei Reply

      2 years ago

      Here’s why (please copy and paste the link in your browser): http://www.ieltsjuice.com/weekly-lessons/2014/04/03/do-not-read-these-books

  2. niloufar Guest

    3 years ago
    Reply

    hello:)I have one question,in 19DEC I have ielts exam and I am not prepare for reading section because this section has a lot of difficult words,Is the academic words (570) enough for reading ? if you answer my question I will be happy:)

    • Mehdi Safavi Admin  niloufar Reply

      3 years ago

      You know, there is no such thing as "enough" words. However, for last-minute preparation, the Academic Word List is a very high priority for sure. So the answer is yes, study the list carefully for your exam. :)

  3. Peyman Tarban

    4 years ago
    Reply

    thank you it was good but it is too hard so i personally have to study more intensively

  4. ali ghasemi

    4 years ago
    Reply

    it was very useful!thanks a lot and goodluck