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Friday, 24 August 2012

Top 100 English Words

About This List

This list was taken from a search done on the British National Corpus of spoken and written English. The spoken aspect is often ignored which is a shame because this is exactly what a vast number of students want to improve in and have great problems with.

I've just included the top 10 written and spoken English words here but you can down load a free pdf I've put together with the top 50s of each. I'd have done both top 100s, but boy is that a labour of love or what!

I've also given little example sentences for each word and recorded the whole thing - more love and labour, I can tell you!

Here's a link to my list - left click to open or right click and chose 'Save As' to save to your computer. You need to save and then open as a pdf in order to get the recordings to open in a new window I'm afraid.

Pithy Observations

The main observations we can make are:
  • Spoken and written English are not the same
  • Some spoken ‘words’ like ‘erm’ and ‘mm’ do not occur in written English
  • We need different English words for different circumstances
  • Written English is not enough for effective English speaking
  • Many common written words are less important when speaking

Ideas for Teachers and Students

Here are some ideas for using this list in learning English:
  1. Get students to guess the top ten words themselves
  2. Learn the words by heart
  3. Listen before reading and try to understand everything
  4. Listen and repeat aloud until the accent is perfect
  5. Do a dictation: listen, write everything down and then check
  6. Read aloud to a friend and they write
  7. Create new sentences using the key words
  8. Write a story including some or all of the key words
  9. Print out and cut up the words and use in card games
  10. Spell the words aloud and students have to give the example sentence
  11. Students test each other: A) says word; B) says sentence
  12. Give top ten sentences – students put in order
  13. Students give parts of speech for each word
  14. Stop recording at random; students guess what comes next
  15. Students analyse a newspaper article and look for top written words
  16. Students analyse a radio recording and listen for top spoken words
  17. Students write a short diary entry without using the top 10 written words
  18. Students give a presentation without using the top 10 spoken words
  19. Your ideas are welcome!

Top 10 Most Common Words List

© 2012 Sab Will / Hotch Potch EnglishWill Power English : "Top 100 English Words"
Sab Will is a teacher, teacher trainer, fanatical blogger... and stuff.

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