I'm looking for resources on most common general word lists for English. I'm after lists that are bit large in size - say in the range 10,000-20,000 words.

I have found smaller lists such as the GSL (2000) and the Oxford 3000.

There are also the frequency lists publish by Wikitionary:

But these are crude lists with no editing done to them to clean them up. For example they contain proper names, acronyms and different forms of the same word.

Can anyone here suggest online resources on lists of common words that are cleaner and within the mentioned size range, maybe a list of words in some beginners or learners dictionary?


The reason behind this question: I'm looking for a resource for learners where they can test their mastery of basic vocabulary. So what we're after is a list of most common general English words in the range given, preferably ordered by frequency, or ordered into groups like the most common 3k group then the next most common group and so on.

For the list to be useful it needs to have been cleaned up by human editing - so things like acronyms, place names, person names and affixes should not be included.

Learners can then go through a list of their chosen level, and if they find a word they're not familiar with they can check it in a learner's dictionary of their choice.

Note: I'm not inviting discussion on the validity of this as a learning technique.

migrated from english.stackexchange.com Aug 10 '12 at 14:09

This question came from our site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts.

  • 2
    List-style questions are discouraged on the main site, however this question could provide a useful resource for our users, so I have migrated it to Meta (at the request of several users). – Kit Z. Fox Aug 10 '12 at 14:13
  • If you are not already familiar with it, Anki is a flashcard-based memory program. It provides "decks" which are essentially lists of items--usually words--that can be loaded into the application. While I can't vouch for the accuracy of these decks, it might be worth checking them out. – coleopterist Aug 11 '12 at 7:15

Take a look at http://www.wordfrequency.info/

Only the top 5000 most common words are available for free, but you can purchase lists of the top 20,000 and 60,000. I've only viewed the free list but it appears to be pretty well cleaned up.

Here's an (unverified) excerpt from a sample list they provide:

Note that this is the only frequency list of English that is corrected for a list this large. All other frequency lists (if they are corrected at all, to remove bad entries) only correct the top 5,000 or 10,000 words.


The closest to what I think you're looking for are the Moby word lists (I think the link is somewhere in the ones already given).

Other than that, I think your best bet is to just google for some variation of 'english word list frequency beginner learner'.

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    1. The question has specific parameters: general most common 10k-20k words with some human editing to enhance utility (for learners). 2.The Moby project has all sorts of impertinent lists, the only one with relevance is a 74k common words list - not what's desired. 3. The question tells you research has been done and only partial results achieved. – BazAU Aug 11 '12 at 3:16
  • Your question may have specific parameters, but that's no guarantee that there's an answer that matches it. Did you try any of the links at the other links I gave? They may or may not lead in a promising direction. – Mitch Aug 16 '12 at 1:40

Natural Language Corpus Data on Peter Norvig's website provides a file containing 1/3 million (333,333) of the most common English words ordered by frequency. The data is obtained by an n-gram frequency analysis of Google's Trillion Words Corpus (Ngram Viewer's dataset). The data from Google is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.

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