The Most Common English Words

Posted by on August 15, 2013

Common Vocabulary Words

We constantly get questions from students regarding vocabulary and fluency. These two things are directly related. The wider the vocabulary one has the more fluently they should be able to speak. The difficulty is deciding what words are necessary to learn and which words are useful and used in regular conversation.


This is the reason the General Service List was created. It is a compilation of nearly 2300 English words that were found across a corpus of different English media. The list was compiled in 1953 by Michael West for the specific reason of providing a usable list of vocabulary words to those who are trying to learn English as a second langauge.

The ability to appropriately use all 2300 words in all tenses will give and ESL student the power to understand and communicate in 90-95% of situations and circumstances. It means, that the ability to use the words on this list will move an English learner to near fluency.

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