Words to start with

According to the New General Service List (accessed 2018 Feb 04), just seven words come up in about 25% of everyday conversations:

the, be, and, of, to, a, in.

To bring that up to 40%, we need to add fifteen words:

have, it, you, he, for, they, not, that, we, on, with, this, I, do, as.

Another fifteen words bring that up to 46%:

at, she, but, from, by, will, or, say, go, so, all, if, one, would, about.

And to get to 50%, we need to add yet another fifteen words:

can, which, there, know, more, get, who, like, when, think, make, time, see, what, up.


The most common 500 words (including those above) take us to about 75% of everyday conversations, 1000 to about 82%, 1500 to about 86%, 2000 to about 89%, and 2500 to about 91%. Registered users can get a listing of these 2500 words, plus a guide to interjections, names, titles, and numbers, on request.


So, where doed these 2500 words come from? There be quite a few websites with lists of the most common words of English, but there be some variation between them. 2497 of them appear on at least four of the following websites.

The Corpus of Contemporary American (the first 3600 words)

Longman Communication 3000 (3140 different words)

English First (3000 words)

New General Service List (2801 words)

Talk English (2165 words)

The other three words be an, these, and those. From English First (accessed 2018 Feb 20):

With 2,500 to 3,000 words, you can understand 90% of everyday English conversations, English newspaper and magazine articles, and English used in the workplace. The remaining 10% you’ll be able to learn from context, or ask questions about. However, it’s essential to learn the right English vocabulary words, so you don’t waste your time trying to memorize a huge collection with very little benefit. … When you can use all these words with confidence, your English vocabulary will be fully functional.


Now to put words together in sentences, and the next six pages give choices to make it more easy.


This page beed created in 2018 Feb 20.