500 Basic Words

The 500 words in this course are the most useful words in English.

Last updated 3/2023 English

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The 500 words in this course are the most useful words in English. They were found by analysis of a collection of English course books from various levels in the primary, secondary and tertiary school systems. The words included in this course were chosen because they occurred many times in different levels of these materials. Because of the way that they were chosen, these words have the following characteristics:

  1. They are useful in both spoken and written English. No matter what English course you are studying, the words in these books will be of value to you.
  2. Each word in these books is a high-frequency word. This means that the effort in learning the words is well repaid by the number of times learners have a chance to encounter or use them.
  3. This course as a whole cover a large proportion of the words in any spoken or written text.

At the end of this course: 

  1. You will get the confidence to speak and use many useful and common words in English.
  2. You will enjoy learning and remember these words through different exercises and activities.
  3. You will learn how to use these words through interesting stores and context.
  4. You will also understand the correct form of each word as adjective, verb, noun and adverb. They also cover at least 90% of the words in conversation.

The activities in this course are specially designed to make use of important learning conditions. Firstly, the words are introduced using sentence definitions and an example sentence. The activities that follow in the units encourage learners to recall the meanings and forms of the words. Some activities also make the learners think about the meaning of the words in the context of a sentence —a sentence different from the sentences that occurred in the introduction of the words. Moreover, each unit ends with a story containing the target words. While reading and listening to the story, the learners have to recall the meanings of the words and suit them to the context of the story. Such activities help learners develop a better understanding of a common meaning for a given word which fits the different uses.

Illustrations for each target word are provided to help learners visualize the word as it is being used in the example sentence. These word/image associations aim to help students grasp the meaning of the word as well as recall the word later. It should be noted that words have more than one grammatical category. However, this course focuses on the word’s most common form. This is mentioned to remind learners that just because a word is labeled and utilized as a noun in this course does not mean that it can never be used in another form such as an adjective.This course has simply focused on the word in the form that it is most likely to be expressed. A well-balanced language course provides four major opportunities for learning through input, learning through output, deliberate learning, and fluency development. The highly structured activities in this course support all four types of learning opportunities. In addition, learning can further be supported through the following activities:

  1. Create vocabulary cards with one word from the unit on one side of the card and the translation of the word in the student’s first language on the other side. Students should use the cards for study in free moments during the day. Over several weeks, students will find that quick repeated studying for brief periods of time is more effective than studying for hours at one sitting.
  2. Practice listening and reading fluency to promote faster recall of word meaning for both sight recognition and usage. Compass Publishing’s Reading for Speed and Fluency is a good resource for reading fluency material.

Who this course is for

  1. This course is meant for students who want to build up their English vocabulary with the most important words and also those who want to enlarge their vocabulary.
  2. It is for people who are in the earlier stages of learning this language and want to try something new, unconventional and fun!
  3. If you get bored in the process of trying to memorize vocabulary because it seems very dull and repetitive, then this course is for you!
  4. This course is for students who want to learn English but have little or no previous experience.
  5. It will also be useful for students who want to refresh their existing basic knowledge of English.
  6. Students who want to improve their English pronunciation will also benefit.

What you'll learn

  1. Understand and recall a large variety of basic and important words in the English language.
  2. Express themselves better with the newly learned vocabulary.
  3. Understand and utilize commonly used questions and sentences.
  4. Pronounce the learned words correctly after hearing them from a native speaker


  1. Basic Understanding of English.
  2. Enthusiasm and Motivation to learn.

Course Content

27 Sections 51 Lectures 2h 45m total length

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