Why should you learn the MOST FREQUENT WORDS of English?

Knowing the most frequent words of ANY language will:

 1) dramatically increase your reading and listening comprehension
 2) allow you to communicate more easily even if you know only a little grammar
 3) accelerate your learning, because you will understand more of that language

Here is why most linguists support the idea of learning the vocabulary by bands of frequency:

  • The top 1,000 words will allow you to understand about 80% of a typical advanced text
  • The top 3,000 words will allow you to understand about 90% of a typical advanced text
  • The top 5,000 words will allow you to understand about 95% of a typical advanced text
  • The top 10,000 words will allow you to understand about 99% of a typical advanced text
    (This last vocabulary level, in practical terms, is equivalent to having the vocabulary of a native speaker).

What VOCABULARY SIZE do you need for each CEFR level?

Although The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) does not specify a vocabulary list or a vocabulary size for each level, there are some estimates provided by linguists and students in different forums. Here is a commonly accepted one:

  • A1 = 500 words
  • A2 = 1,000 words
  • B1 = 2,000 words
  • B2 = 4,000 words
  • C1 = 8,000 words
  • C2 = 16,000 words

How are WORDS counted? 

When linguists refer to a “word”, they actually mean a “word family” which consists of the base word and its inflected forms and derivations. For example, active, actively, activities, and activity are all in the same word-family.