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How many words would be enough?

How many words would be enough?

20 May 2013
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