Some sources say there are 600,000 English words.
Worried that you will never be able to learn all the words you need to communicate in English?
Do not worry.
Learning English vocabulary does not have to involve a pile of 600,000 flashcards.
Instead, you can use English vocabulary resources like word lists, lessons and exercises to learn the words you will need in everyday life.
We will show you the best online tools for learning (and remembering) English vocabulary in an enjoyable, natural way.
You will have hundreds—even thousands—of new words in your vocabulary before you know it.
Don’t Just Memorize! How to Actually Learn English Vocabulary
There are a lot of different words in English. For most learners, simply memorizing a list of words and definitions does not work.
Instead, you need to practice using new words so that you truly understand and remember what they mean.
- Write a daily diary entry that includes the words you learned that day. You do not even need to carry a notebook around—just download a journaling app such as Journey to keep your diary on your phone.
- Try writing down the location where you first learned a word. It might seem strange, but this can actually help strengthen your memory. This method might not work as well if you are learning all your new words in a classroom setting, but it is great if you are learning independently and encountering new words through media or just daily life.
- Speak words aloud when you learn them. Again, this will help make each word more memorable, but it will also prepare you to use the words in real, spoken English. You can check your pronunciation with Forvo.
What English Words Matter to You?
One of the best tips is to learn the vocabulary you will actually use! When you are just starting out learning a language, you might not need to know the names of every animal in the zoo. Instead, learn the words you are actually going to use.
But how do you figure out which words will be the most useful to you?
Start by thinking of your day-to-day activities. If you eat at restaurants often, you should learn how to order from a menu and memorize key food terminology. It is also a good idea to learn vocabulary related to grocery shopping or going to the store.
If you are a student, learn school vocabulary. If you work, learn the most common vocabulary used at your job.
Then you can start to focus on your hobbies and interests. Learn to talk about your favorite activities in English and you will not even feel like you are studying.
6 English Vocabulary Resources to Learn Hundreds of New Words, Fast!
Now that you have an idea of where to start, we will get into some great resources to help you build your vocabulary so you will never be stuck without the right word again.
FluentU uses real English videos to teach you vocabulary in a natural and fun way. You can easily find videos that interest you, from movie trailers, to music videos, to news reports, to inspiring speeches and more.
Watching videos is always a great way to hear new words, but FluentU is not just a video player. Every video has built-in tools designed just for English learners.
For example, there are interactive subtitles. You can click any word you do not know, and FluentU will automatically pause the video to show you a definition and examples of how to use it.
When you are done watching a video, FluentU has flashcards and fun quizzes to make sure you remember everything you learned.
In other words, you will learn English the way native speakers actually use it in real life, without every worrying about missing a word. And since the videos are organized by genre and level (beginner to advanced), it is easy to find the ones that matter to you.
You will not even notice you are learning since you will be having so much fun!
Education First makes it easy to focus on the most useful English words. They provide English vocabulary lists that are divided into sections based on how common each word is.
The lists are long but incredibly useful. The first list includes the 100 most common words in the English language. There are also lists of the 50 most common adjectives, nouns and verbs.
From there, the lists get longer, so you can try to learn the 1,000 most common words and then the 3,000 most common words.
Education First says that once you know these 3,000 words you will be able to understand most of the English language.
Business English is perfect for those of you who are working or planning to work in an English environment. They have several lists of business-related English vocabulary.
The lists start fairly simple but get more complicated as you go. Some of the vocabulary lists are accompanied with pictures to help you understand. Others are organized like a quiz.
There are lists for different jobs, such as accounting, medical and computer jobs. At the end, there are also lists that help you learn specific issues that might come up during your job.
For example, you can learn how to interview well in English or how to understand contracts or employment agreements.
“What Do People Do All Day” is another great resource to learn work-related English words. This resource is a little different than some of the others on this list. It is actually a book for children, but it is full of great vocabulary!
The author, Richard Scarry, talks about different jobs and key words that relate to each job. He also teaches words for different methods of transportation and city vocabulary.
The book is fully illustrated, so you can use images to remember the meaning of each word.
This resource has tons of different vocabulary lists and lessons. They are clearly organized by difficulty level so that you can move up as you study. Many of the lists include pictures to help you learn, and all of them are simple and easy to follow.
Most of these lessons are simple word lists, often including pictures or audio. However, there are also interactive lessons and quizzes.
ConversationExchange is a site that connects language learners. You can find a native English speaker who is learning your native language, and meet to talk locally or over video chat.
The idea is to spend part of the time talking in English and part of the time talking in your native language, so you both get a chance to practice.
This is a great way to practice using the vocabulary you have learned, but it is also a chance to learn new words. Without a doubt, your English speaking partner will use words that you have never heard before. Do not be afraid to ask them to explain those words and pronounce them slowly, then try using them yourself.
There is a helpful page of Conversation Topics to get you started. As you and your language learning partner move through each topic you can teach each other new vocabulary.
Learning vocabulary is an important part of learning English, and it can be easier than you think. Learn new English vocabulary through word lists, lessons, apps and exercises. Be sure to practice using the new words and saying them out loud and in no time you will be able to understand and speak English in almost any situation.
If you liked this post, something tells me that you'll love FluentU, the best way to learn English with real-world videos.