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The Most Common Words in English: A "New" General Service List

Hello colleagues, Technology has made it easy to analyze spoken and written language to determine which English words are most commonly used. When teaching, it makes good sense to prioritize the words English learners are most likely to encounter.

Are you aware that there is now a New General Service List (Browne, Culligan, & Phillips, 2013) based on corpus studies, which includes the 1,000 most common words in English? The "old" General Service List was published in 1953, so it's great to have an up-to-date list.

In addition to the list of words on the New General Service List site, you will also find a list with the most common spoken words in English as well as a New Academic Word List, a Business Word List, and a list of words for the Test of Test of English for International Communication (TOEIC). There are also links to flashcards for the various words on Quizlet. Pretty amazing!

Do you draw upon word lists from corpus studies when you teach? If so, tell us about your experience. Also, if you have online resources to recommend, please do!

Reference: Browne, C., Culligan, B. & Phillips, J. (2013). The New General Service List. Retrieved from

Cheers, Susan Finn Miller

Moderator, English Language Acquisition