Dictionary (photo from Wikimedia Commons, 10/10/2014)

Dictionary (photo from Wikimedia Commons, 10/10/2014)

The English language has about 250,000 words. If you count inflections, technical, or regional vocabulary words, the number of words in English goes to 750,000!

But don’t worry. You don’t have to learn that many words. Most native English speakers know between 10,000-25,000 words. But we only use about 3,500 words in daily life, which is less than 1% of the total number of words. That’s a lot easier!

TestYourVocab did a study on vocabulary in English. They found that most non-native English speakers know about 4,500 words in English. It also discovered that when you live in an English-speaking country (like the U.S.!) you learn almost 3 new words a day. If you continue to live in an English-speaking country, you will learn 10,000 words. This is great news for you! (Check out the test here.)

Influences in English Vocabulary (from Wikinut)

Influences in English Vocabulary (from Wikinut)

English comes from a mix of many languages. Some words come from German. Some words come from French. Some words come from Latin. Other words are from Greek, or from names.

And we don’t know where other words came from!

Some ideas to practice vocabulary are:

1) Write new words on paper

2) Draw a picture

3) Write a sentence

4)  Connect the word with the object (put notes all over your house with new words!)

This video has some more information on how to learn vocabulary.

Below are some good sites you can use to practice your vocabulary:


Cambridge English Reading Test  and Oxford Bookworm are sites helps you find your reading level.

Bilingual Vocabulary Quizzes: Take a quiz on many topics in your native language and in English.

Elfnet : Has picture vocabulary lists with audio and related exercises, advanced vocabulary (with slang and idioms) and phrasal verbs

Vocabulary.com – uses a adaptive learning  system  (“The Challenge”) to help you learn words quickly

screenshot capture by JLN, 10/17/2014

screenshot capture by JLN, 10/17/2014

Vocabulary Games: Practice vocabulary with matching exercises, crosswords, and scrambles.

Visual Dictionary: For learning new words. (There is no sound, just reading.)

Vocabulary Lists and Games: Many games and activities. (Not many pictures.)

ESL Tower – Many interactive games and quizzes to practice vocabulary – grouped by subject.

Free Rice: Vocabulary practice with definitions.

Levels 1, 2, 3

Learning Chocolate: Wonderful way to learn words linked to a subject group. Each group has visual pictures but also has 5 exercises to help you practice the words you are learning.

Easy English Picture Dictionary / Vocabulary Builder –  Learn new words via pictures and subject topics ( some items have audio – most don’t). Check out the prefix/suffix topic under Vocabulary Builder.

Picture Dictionary by Language Guide – Has great visual pictures to help you find the words for a subject. Each topic opens a visual picture that has the vocabulary for that group linked to items you can point to. When you hover the mouse over an item, you can hear and see the vocabulary word.  The guide can be used to translate  many other languages. Be sure to use settings to move to quiz mode (Practice Listening) where you need to point to what you hear.

LEVELS 4, 5, 6

Idioms in English: This site has a lot of interesting idioms in English for more advanced students.

screenshot capture by JLN, 10/17/2014

screenshot capture by JLN, 10/17/2014

Vocabulary Exercises: This site doesn’t teach words, but allows you to practice what you already know.

Prefixes in English: Learn what prefixes mean and how to use them to recognize new words.

Irregular Verbs List: Study past tense verbs and do some exercises.



Vocabtest – different levels – adaptive learning quizzes

Spelling Practice


Not only should you know words, but you should also know how to spell them correctly!

Spelling Practice – all levels