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5000 English Vocabulary Words ESLs Must Know

vor 4 Jahren

5000 English Vocabulary Words ESLs Must Know

Vocabulary is an important part of learning a language. The more words you know, the more you can communicate in reading, conversation, and writing.

Consider your vocabulary as two distinct groups - passive vocabulary and active vocabulary.
Your passive vocabulary contains all the words you understand when you read or listen, but which you do not use frequently in your writing and speaking. Your active vocabulary is all the words you understand; plus, all the words you can use freely and which easily come to mind.

As an ESL learner, your primary objective should be building your active vocabulary, mastering the words you need to basically communicate within the world of English speakers you work with or socialize with.

To build your active and your passive vocabulary you must us a comprehensive dictionary to “research” every word you have not already mastered. Here is a link to the best online dictionary I have discovered so far:


This online resource gives the many usages of every word, provides synonyms, uses the words in sentences, pronounces the words in British and American English, and so much more.
Do not get caught in the trap of believing the basic translation of words you check the meaning of in a translator is all you need to understand any English word.

The simple one word or single line translations provided in travel and other compact dictionaries might help you in the shopping center or for your basic travel inquiries but might distract your professional and academic listeners as they struggle to understand “what did you mean by that.”

With every new word, learn its proper pronunciation along with it. I cannot stress this enough. If you start off mispronouncing a word, mispronunciation will become your habit. You not only compromise yourself but you compromise those you communicate with and identify your self as being compromising.

Get yourself a little notepad to keep in your purse or pocket. I did not say voice recorder. I said notepad. It might be difficult to write words you do not understand as you are speaking with someone, but think of how you can accomplish it.

Do not be shy to ask those you are speaking with “what is the word you just said?” People will understand English is not your 1st language and will respect you for being intelligent enough to ask the question; to pretend you understand when you don’t, you demonstrate you might be an idiot.

Pull out your little vocabulary pad and write the word down, try to also write the sentence it was used in. If you listen to the TV, or read a book and simply ignore words you don’t understand, I suggest that as far as your English learning goes, you are either an idiot or a lazy undetermined person wishing your English vocabulary will improve all on its own – Not Hardly!

Sometime when you are riding the train or bus, or just chilling, pull out your little vocabulary pad and review your growing list of words and sentences.

Native speakers learn these things about words by hearing them and reading them again and again. This is the best way for you to learn them, too, but “you” also must check your definitions to build your foundation of the 5000 basic words the Native English speaker knew when they were six years old and in grade one.

That’s right! The average native English speaker enters Grade 1 knowing at least 5,000 words.

For learners of English as a second language (ESLs), vocabulary development is especially important. The average ESL may know 5,000 words in his or her native language, but far fewer words in English. Native speakers continue learning new words from age six, without the 5000 words of the six-year-old, ESLs face the additional challenge of building the 5000-word foundation and then closing the gap.

Reading a list of words with their definitions or translations is not enough to bury word meanings deep into your memory recollection process. Studies show that the more paths we engage in our learning process the faster we absorb and retain the knowledge learned.

Proactively engage yourself in building a strong English vocabulary. Here are some suggestions as to how:
  • Learn the word in a typical combination with other words
  • Write a sentence for every new word you learn
  • Use a good comprehensive online dictionary like www.thefreedictionary.com
  • Most words have multiple meanings, explore the various meanings of every new word
  • Review the synonyms and antonyms for every new word
  • As mentioned, keep a vocabulary diary, add to it and review it every day
  • Use the words in your own speaking or writing
Do not be discouraged when you cannot recall the new words you have explored; they will certainly be within the deeper layers of your passive memory. As you read, listen to broadcasts, and converse with your co-workers and friends, the words you have studied will rise higher in the surface of your active vocabulary.

Studying new words and reviewing new words every day you will be nurturing your English vocabulary into a healthy thriving living thing that will grow. To the contrary, idly going about your day to day routines ignoring the words you do not understand will stagnate your English vocabulary growth - and perhaps "the future" - a strong English vocabulary can help you to attain.

Most of all, learning new English words – or words in any language – should be exciting. Think of your self as an artist and vocabulary words as your pallet of colors. The abstract concepts of your imagination are the ideas and emotions you want to convey. The audience you are speaking or writing to is your canvas. 

Are you content to bore your audience with the few colors on your pallet; or awe and compel them with an ever-expanding array of meaningful vocabulary?

Here is another tip in addition to all above. Download my Free 5000 Must Know English Vocabulary Words Workbook. The Free Workbook is a 100-page listing of 5000 English words I have compiled that every English learner should know.

Next to each of the 5000 numbered words, I provide a space for you to write a sentence correctly using the word. Many of the words will seem simple and you will think you know them – then you should have no problem using the words in a sentence - right?
Submit your sentences to your Verbling teacher for them to correct, I suggest you try at least 20 sentences a day. I am not taking new students so do not think to send any of your work to me. See how fast you can master the 5000-word challenge.
To get your FREE 5000 Must Know English Vocabulary Words Workbook, you must message me here on Verbling and request your free workbook. It is Free of charge.

5000 English Vocabulary Words ESLs Must Know

I am Mentor Josephan Are you ready to speak English or not! American English Ready Set Go!

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Mentor Josephan

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