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Top 3000 Most Common Words for English Proficiency

Updated: Jun 24, 2023

Have you ever wondered if there is a certain number of words you need to know to speak English fluently?


Vocabulary is the foundation of language learning. According to language scholars, vocabulary is regarded as central in language teaching and is of paramount importance to a language learner (Susanto, 2017). Vocabulary is the basis on which one learns a language.

Therefore, the learning of vocabulary plays an important role in foreign language learning. Understandably, a robust vocabulary improves all areas of communication — listening, speaking, reading, and writing.

Additionally, an estimation of the number of words in the English language is important in enabling language learners to analyze the number of words required to be fluent.


Experts estimate that the English vocabulary consists of approximately 1 million words. In fact, in 2010, researchers from Harvard University and Google estimated a total of 1,022,000 words, and that number is projected to increase by 8,500 each year. Therefore, the English language is not static. It's dynamic. So, the English vocabulary is ever-expanding. As a result, there is no precise total of the number of words in English.


Most native speakers use less than half the number of words that make up the English vocabulary. Most natives use slightly more than 3000 words. An analysis of the English language reveals that the 3000 most frequent words in spoken and written English form approximately 90% of the language. So, 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 could be able to detect from context.

However, it's not enough to memorize an arbitrary or random collection of words. It's important to learn the right English vocabulary words, the words that are the most important to learn and study to communicate effectively in both speech and writing. The list that follows comprises the top 3000 most frequently used words. Once you can use these words in the right context, your confidence, competence, and English vocabulary will be fully functional. You will be able to comprehend some 90% of typical English conversations and communicate at an advanced level.

The VIP 3000 is a collection of the 3000 most frequent words in both spoken and written English, based on a statistical analysis of the 390 million words contained in Corpus* Networks – a group of corpora or databases of authentic English.


The VIP 3000 represents the core of the English language and demonstrates to students of English the words that are the most vital to learn for English proficiency. Browse the top 3000 most commonly used words in English, arranged in alphabetical order.


The VIP 3000 features a list of the top 3000 most frequently used vocabulary based on analysis of the Oxford and Longman Corpus Networks. The word list is accompanied by special symbols: W1, W2, and W3 which signifies words that are in the top 1000, 2000, and 3000 most frequently used words in written English and S1, S2, and S3 which represents the top 1000, 2000, and 3000 most frequent words in spoken English.

Meaning of Abbreviations

Adj: adjective Adv: adverb Conj: conjunction N: noun Prep: preposition

Pron: pronoun V: verb

Meaning of Symbols


Top 3000 Most Common Words in English
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Congratulations on exploring the Top 3000 most frequently used words in English! But merely accessing a list of the most frequently used words in English is not sufficient to master the target language. Having a dedicated tutor that focuses attention on mastering the meanings, grammatical patterns and collocations of these words is essential.

VIP English Learners offers an immersive and comprehensive language learning program designed to make you speak English like a native.

If you would like to master the Top 3000 key vocabulary in English, select one of the course offerings below. Explore our Services page for additional course offerings.



Explore VIP English Learners' Latest Services and select a program that interests you. Get a dedicated coach to train you in achieving English proficiency.


Speak English confidently like a native with the VIP English Learners course

In summary, as an English learner, it is natural to become curious about the number of words in the English language. Language experts estimate that the English language is composed of approximately one million words, but this number is not finite. It is constantly evolving and increasing. Nevertheless, some 3000 words account for 90% of conversational English. So, learning the 3000 most frequently spoken and written words with an expert tutor plays a crucial role in enabling a language learner to achieve mastery of the English language.



Click below to watch the video, VIP English IWelcome to learn more.



* A corpus is an electronic collection of written and spoken texts.

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