(NOTE: The link for the words is at the bottom of the article. Or click here to get them now.)
How many words are in the English language?
The answer: a lot!
171,476, to be exact.
(At least that's the number of words in the Oxford English Dictionary.)
And that's a little depressing for any non-native speaker who wants to improve his or her vocabulary.
But here's the good news.
You don't need to know all those words.
You don't even need to know half...
If you want to read about business, talk about business, and do business in English, you only need to know less than 3% of the English vocabulary to understand 97% of business communication.
How is that possible?
A Strange Fact About Native Speakers
Native speakers like to repeat themselves.
We say the same words over and over again.
When it comes to choosing our words, we're all vocab environmentalists recycling our words.
So while this is how most people think of the English language:
In fact, it's more like this:
And it's the same in the business world.
A Recent Discovery
Earlier this year, a team of English language researchers in Japan discovered that if you know only 2,144 English words you can understand 92% of conversation.
And an additional 1,700 business words will buy you 97% understanding.*
But...they have to be the right words.
Here's the story:
The researchers took a lot of business magazines...
They took a lot of business books...
They took a lot of business newspapers and websites...
(And by "a lot" I mean 64 million words in total.)
And they dumped all these business words into a blender.
(Or maybe it was a computer...)
And they asked the question:
"What are the words that rise to the top?"
They wanted to know the most common...the most frequent...the most valuable words for business in the English language today.
A list of the only English words a businessman or woman could ever need.
Researches call them "frequency lists."
But I call them "super words."
Ready to find out how many you know?
Image of The Effective Executive from Harper Collins.