Basic English consists of 850 words that can express the meanings that can be found in a pocket dictionary. This is then expanded with 100 words of a general area of interest - science or business, and 50 words of a specialty within that general area. Thus any student's vocabulary is 1,000 words, plus certain prefixes and suffixes. A list of international words is assumed to be known. Compound words made up of Basic words, where the origin makes sense, are also allowed. As are new words made from adding the allowed endings, -er, -ed, -ing. Ogden provides a growth plan, the First Addendum and the Next Step to the 2,000 word level. He considers the 2,000 word level to have achieved standard English. Therefore, this list approximates a minimum standard English wordlist whereafter the student can proceed on his own without difficulty.

This maximum Basic English word list must not be confused with the definition of Basic English as 850 words plus 150 specialty words. This maximum list is simply what the advanced student, with an interest in all general areas - not specialties - will know when transiting from the Basic English language to standard English language. It actually contains well over two thousand words. In fact, the student is expected to know one specialty (science, business, verse, etc.) topic with an additional 50 words that are not of interest to the general audience (chemistry, geology, economics, Bible, etc.).

VOA Special English has a 1,500 word vocabulary -- expanded with prefix and suffix and an addendum of science words. VOA Special English is used every day in international news broadcasts -- thus proving that a simple vocabulary is effective. As such, VOA Special English would be considered by Ogden to be a specialty area of international news. Ogden sought the advice of Radio Committees in different countries for a radio specialty word list and a preliminary list is included here. It consists of 248 words of general interest, not limited to news.

It will be interesting to compare VOA Special English with an approximately same sized lists of Basic English. Selection from the various Basic English lists to limit to 1,500 words will be somewhat arbitrary. Basic English 1500 will consist of the 850, the general topic areas, news parts of the radio specialty list, and enough of the Basic English "next step" list to make the 1,500 number. Direct comparison may not be totally appropriate, but it will be interesting to see what two lists of a 1,500 word level vocabulary (nominal) looks like. This page is preparatory to making a side by side listing.


Basic: a, able, about, account, acid, across, act, addition, adjustment, advertisement, agreement, after, again, against, air, all, almost, am, among, amount, amusement, an, and, angry, angle, animal, answer, ant, any, apparatus, apple, approval, arch, argument, arm, army, art, as, association, at, attack, attempt, attention, attitude, attraction, authority, automatic, awake .

Intl: alcohol, Algebra, aluminum, ammonia, anesthetic, April, Arithmetic, asbestos, August, autobus, automobile .

Next: absence, absorption, acceleration, acceptance, accessory, accident, active, address, adjacent, adventure, advice, age, agent, agency, ago, allowance, along, also, alternative, always, ambition, amplitude, anchor, ankle, appendage, application, approximation, arbitration, arbitrary, arc, area, arrangement, ash, asset, assistant, average, awkward, axis .

Compound: aftereffect, afftertaste, afterthought, aircushion, airman, airmen, airplane, airtight, another, anybody, anyhow, anyone, anything, anywhere, away .

Endings: actor, acting .


Basic: baby, back, bad, bag, balance, ball, band, base, basin, basket, bath, be, beautiful, because, bed, bee, been, before, behavior, belief, bell, bent, berry, best, better, between, bird, birth, bit, bite, bitter, black, blade, blood, blow, blue, board, boat, body, bone, book, boot, boiling, bottle, box, boy, brain, brake, branch, brass, bread, breath, brick, bridge, bright, broken, brother, brown, brush, bucket, building, bulb, button, burn, burst, business, but, butter, by.

Intl: ballet, Bang, bank, bar, beef, beer, Biology, bomb .

Next: balcony, bale, bankrupt, bark, barrel, beak, beaker, beard, beat, behind, belt, bet, bill, birefringence, blame, blanket, both, bottom, brave, break, breakfast, breast, broker, bubble, bud, budget, buoyancy, bunch, burial, busy .

Compound: backbone, backwoods, become, became, bedroom, beeswax, birthday, birthright, blackberry, blackbird, blackboard, bloodvessel, bluebell, bookkeeper, brushwood, buttercup .

Endings: basing, based, builder, burner, burned, burning .


Basic: cake, camera, canvas, card, care, carriage, cart, cat, cause, certain, chain, chalk, chance, change, cheap, cheese, chemical, chest, chief, chin, church, circle, class, clean, clear, clock, cloth, cloud, coal, coat, cold, collar, color, comb, come, comfort, committee, community, common, company, comparison, competition, complete, complex, computer, condition, connection, conscious, control, cook, copper, copy, cord, cork, cotton, cough, country, cover, cow, crack, credit, crime, cruel, crush, cry, culture, cup, custom, current, curtain, curve, cushion, cut.

Intl: cafe, calendar, catarrh, cent, centi-, champagne, chauffeur, chemist, Chemistry, check, chocolate, chorus, cigarette, circus, citron, club, coffee, cocktail, cognac, College, colony .

Next: calculation, call, came, capacity, capital, carpet, cartilage, case, cast, cave, cavity, cell, ceremony, certificate, chair, character, charge, child, chimney, china, choice, circulation, circuit, circumference, civilization, clay, claim, claw, cleavage, clever, client, climber, clip, code, coil, collision, collection, column, combination, combine, communications, complaint, component, compound, concept, concrete, conductor, congruent, conservation, consignment, constant, consumer, continuous, contour, convenient, conversion, cool, corner, correlation, corrosion, cost, court, creeper, crop, cross, cunning, cusp, customs .

Compound: cardboard, carefree, caretaker, clockwork, commonsense, copyright, cupboard .

Endings: carter, clothier, clothing, cooker, cooked, cooking, crying.


Basic: damage, danger, dark, daughter, day, dead, dear, death, debt, decision, deep, degree, delicate, dependent, design, desire, destruction, detail, development, did, different, digestion, direction, dirty, discovery, discussion, disease, disgust, distance, distribution, division, do, does, dog, done, door, down, doubt, drain, drawer, dress, drink, driving, drop, dry, dust.

Intl: dance, December, deci-, degree, dollar, Dominion, dynamite .

Next: damping, date, debit, deck, decrease, defect, deficiency, deflation, degenerate, delivery, demand, denominator, department, desert, density, deposit, determining, dew, diameter, difference, difficulty, drift, dike, dilution, dinner, dip, direct, disappearance, discharge, discount, disgrace, dislike, dissipation, disturbance, ditch, dive, divisor, divorce, doll, domesticating, dreadful, dream, duct, dull, duty .

Compound: daylight, downfall .

Endings: daily, dancer, dancing (to), designer, dressing (up), driver, dropped, dropper, duster.


Basic: ear, early, earth, east, edge, education, effect, egg, elastic, electric, end, engine, enough, environment, equal, error, even, event, ever, every, example, exchange, existence, expansion, experience, expert, eye.

Intl: eight, electricity, eleven, Embassy, Empire, encyclopedia, engineer, euro .

Next: each, easy, economy, efficiency, effort, either, elimination, employer, employment, empty, enemy, envelope, environment, envy, equation, erosion, eruption, evaporation, evening, exact, excitement, experiment, exercise, explanation, explosion, export, expression, extinction, eyebrow, eyelash .

Compound: ear-ring, earthwork, evergreen, everybody, everyday, everyone, everything, everywhere, eyeball .


Basic: face, fact, fall, false, family, far, farm, farther, fat, father, fear, feather, feeble, feeling, female, fertile, fiction, field, fight, finger, fire, first, fish, fixed, flag, flame, flat, flight, floor, flower, fly, fold, food, foolish, foot, for, force, fork, form, forward, fowl, frame, free, frequent, friend, from, front, fruit, full, further, future .

Intl: February, fifteen, fifth, fifty, five, four, fourteen, fourth, forty, Friday .

Next: factor, failure, fair, famous, fan, fastening, fault, ferment, fertilizing, fever, fiber, figure, fin, financial, flash, flask, flesh, flood, flour, focus, forecast, forehead, foreign, forgiveness, fraction, fracture, fresh, friction, flint, flood, flow, foliation, frost, frozen, fume, funnel, funny, fur, furnace, furniture, fusion .

Compound: fatherland, fingerprint, firearm, fire-engine, firefly, fireman, fireplace, firework, first-rate, football, footlights, footman, footnote, footprint, footstep .

Endings: farmer, fisher(man), folder, fired, firing.


Basic: gave, garden, general, get, girl, give, glass, glove, go, goat, goes, gold, gone, good, got, gat, government, grain, grass, great, green, grey/gray, grip, group, growth, guide, gun .

Intl: gas, Geography, Geology, Geometry, gram, glycerin .

Next: gate, generation, germ, germinating, gill, glacier, gland, god, grand, grateful, grating, gravel, grease, grief, grocery, groove, gross, ground, guard, guarantee, guess, gum .

Compound: gasworks, goldfish, goodlooking, good-morning, goodnight, gunboat, gun-carriage, gunmetal, gunpowder .

Endings: gardener .


Basic: had, hair, hammer, hand, hanging, happy, harbor, hard, harmony, has, hat, hate, hath, have, he, head, healthy, hearing, heart, heat, helicopter, help, her, here, heredity, high, him, history, hole, hollow, hook, hope, horn, horse, hospital, hour, house, how, humor .

Intl: half, hiss, hotel, hundred, hyena, hygiene, hysteria.

Next: habit, handkerchief, handle, heavy, hedge, hill, hinge, hire, hold, holiday, home, honest, honey, hoof, host, human, hunt, hurry, hurt, husband .

Compound: handbook, handwriting, headdress, headland, headstone, headway, hereafter, herewith, highlands, highway, himself, horseplay, horsepower, hourglass, houseboat, housekeeper, however .

Endings: hanger, heater, heated, heating .


Basic: I, ice, idea, if, ill, important, impulse, in, increase, industry, ink, insect, instrument, insurance, interest, invention, iron, is, island, it, its .

Intl: Imperial, inch, inferno, influenza, international .

Next: igneous, image, imagination, import, impurity, incentive, inclusion, index, individual, inflation, infinity, inheritance, innocent, institution, insulator, integer, integration, intelligent, intercept, internet, interpretation, intersection, intrusion, investigation, investment, inverse, invitation .

Compound: inasmuch, income, indoors, inland, inlet, input, inside, instep, into, itself .

Endings: inner


Basic: jelly, jewel, join, journey, judge, jump .

Intl: January, jazz, July, June .

Next: jam, jaw, jealous, jerk, joint, jug, juice, jury, justice .

Endings: jeweler, joiner .


Basic: keep, kept, kettle, key, kick, kind, kiss, knee, knife, knot, knowledge .

Intl: kilo-, King .

Next: kennel, kidney, kitchen, knock

Endings: keeper .


Basic: land, language, last, late, laugh, law, lead, leaf, learning, least, leather, leg, left, less, let, letter, level, library, lift, light, like, limit, line, linen, lip, liquid, list, little, living, lock, long, loose, loss, loud, love, low .

Intl: latitude, lava, liter, liqueur, longitude .

Next: lace, lag, lake, lame, lamp, large, latitude, lawyer, layer, lazy, lecture, legal, length, lens, lesson, lever, lever, liability, license, lid, life, lime, limestone, link, liver, load, local, load, loan, locus, look, longitude, luck, lump, lunch, lung .

Compound: landmark, landslip, lighthouse, looking-glass .

Endings: laughing (at), learner,likely, locker, locking (up).


Basic: machine, made, man, manager, make, male, map, mark, market, married, match, material, mass, may, me, meal, measure, meat, medical, meeting, memory, metal, middle, might, military, milk, mind, mine, minute, mist, mixed, money, monkey, month, moon, more, morning, most, mother, motion, mountain, mouth, move, much, muscle, music, my .

Intl: macaroni, madam, magnetic, malaria, mania, March, Mathematics, May, meter, meow, micro-, microscope, mile, milli-, million, minute, Monday, Museum .

Next: magic, magnitude, manner, many, marble, margin, marriage, mast, mattress, mature, mean, meaning, medicine, medium, melt, member, mess, message, metabolism, mill, mineral, mixture, model, modern, modest, momentum, monopoly, mood, moral, moustache, mud, multiple, multiplication, murder .

Compound: manhole, maybe, myself .

Endings: marked, miner .


Basic: nail, name, narrow, nation, natural, near, necessary, neck, need, needle, nerve, net, never, new, news, night, no, noise, normal, north, nose, not, note, now, number, nut .

Intl: neutron, nickel, nicotine, nine, November .

Next: nasty, nature, navy, neat, neglect, neighbor, nest, next, nice, node, nostril, nuclear, nucleus, numerator, nurse .

Compound: network, newspaper, nobody, nothing, nowhere .

Endings: nearer, noted .


Basic: observation, of, off, offer, office, oil, old, on, one,only, open, operation, opinion, opposite, or, orange, order, organization, ornament, other, our, out, oven, over, owner.

Intl: October, olive, once, omelet, one, opera, opium, orchestra, organism .

Next: obedient, officer, orchestra, ore, organ, origin, outcrop, outlier, overlap, oval, own, oxidation .

Compound: offspring, oncoming, oneself, onlooker, onto, outburst, outcome, outcry, outdoor, outgoing, outhouse, outlaw, outlet, outline, outlook, output, outside, outskirts, outstretched, overacting, overall overbalancing, overbearing, overcoat, overcome, overdo, overdressed, overfull, overhanging, overhead, overland, overleaf, overloud, overseas, overseer, overshoe, overstatement, overtake, overtaxed, overtime overturned, overuse, overvalued, overweight, overworking .

Endings: outer


Basic: page, pain, paint, paper, parallel, parcel, part, past, paste, payment, peace, pen, pencil, person, physical, picture, pig, pin, pipe, place, plane, plant, plate, play, please, pleasure, plough/plow, pocket, point, poison, polish, political, poor, porter, position, possible, pot, potato, powder, power, present, price, print, prison, private, probable, process, produce, profit, property, prose, protest, public, pull, pump, punishment, purpose, push, put .

Intl: pajamas, paraffin, paradise, park, passport, patent, pence, penny, penguin, petroleum, phonograph, Physics, Physiology, piano, platinum, police, post, potash, pound, President, Prince, Princess, program, propaganda, Psychology, Purr, pyramid .

Next: packing, pad, pair, pan, paragraph, parent, particle, partner, party, passage, path, patience, pedal, pendulum, pension, people, perfect, petal, piston, plain, plan, plaster, plug, poetry, pollen, pool, population, porcelain, practice, praise, prayer, pressure, prick, priest, prime, probability, product, progress, projectile, projection, promise, proof, proud, pulley, pupil, purchase, pure .

Compound: pincushion, plaything, policeman, postman, postmark, postmaster, postoffice.

Endings: painter, painting, parting, playing, played, pleased (with), pointer, pointing (at), potter, printer, prisoner, producer,


Basic: quality, question, quick, quiet, quite .

Intl: Quack, quarter, Queen, quinine .

Next: quantity, quotient.


Basic: rail, rain, range, rat, rate, ray, reaction, red, reading, ready, reason, receipt, record, regret, regular, relation, religion, representative, request, respect, responsible, rest, reward, rhythm, rice, right, ring, river, road, rod, roll, roof, room, root, rough, round, rub, rule, run . Intl: radio, radium, referendum, restaurant, rheumatism, Royal, rum .

Next: race, radiation, ratio, reagent, real, receiver, reciprocal, rectangle, recurring, reference, reflux, reinforcement, relative, remark, remedy, rent, repair, reproduction, repulsion, resistance, residue, resolution, result, retail, revenge, reversible, rich, rigidity, rise, rival, rock, rot, rotation, rude, rust .

Compound: reasonable, runaway .

Endings: raining, reader, reading, roller, ruler, rubber


Basic: sad, said, safe, sail, salt, same, sand, saw, say, scale, school, science, scissors, screw, sea, seat, second, secret, secretary, see, seed, seen . seem, selection, self, send, sense, sent, separate, serious, servant, sex, shade, shake, shame, sharp, she, sheep, shelf, ship, shirt, shock, shoe, short, shut, side, sign, silk, silver, simple, sister, size, skin, skirt, sky, sleep, slip, slope, slow, small, smash, smell, smile, smoke, smooth, snake, sneeze, snow, so, soap, society, sock, soft, solid, some, son, song, sort, sound, soup, south, space, spade, special, sponge, spoon, spring, square, stage, standard, stamp, star, start, statement, station, steam, steel, stem, step, stick, sticky, stiff, still, stitch, stocking, stomach, stone, stop, store, story, straight, strange, street, strong, structure, substance, such, sudden, sugar, suggestion, summer, sun, support, surprise, sweet, swim, system .

Intl: salad, sardine, Saturday, second, September, serum, seven, sir, six, sixteen, sport, Sunday .

Next: sac, sale, sample, satisfaction, saturated, saucer, saving, scale, scarp, schist, scratch, screen, seal, search, security, secretion, section, sedimentary, selfish, sensitivity, sentence, sepal, service, set, shadow, shale, share, shave, shear, sheet, shell, shore, shoulder, show, sight, sill, similarity, since, skull, slate, sleeve, slide, social, soil, soldier, solution, solvent, sorry, spark, specialization, specimen, speculation, spirit, spit, splash, spot, stable, stain, stair, stalk, stamen, statistics, steady, stimulus, storm, strain, straw, stream, strength, stress, strike, string, study, subject, substitution, subtraction, success, successive, sucker, sum, supply, surface, surgeon, suspension, suspicious, swelling, swing, switch, sympathetic .

Compound: seaman, secondhand, shorthand, sideboard, sidewalk, somebody, someday, somehow, someone, something, sometime, somewhat, somewhere, suchlike, sunburn, sunlight, sunshade, sweetheart .

Endings: sailor, shocking, shocked, snowing, steamer, stopper, stopping (up), stretcher.


Basic: table, tail, take, talk, tall, taste, tax, teaching, technology, tendency, test, than, that, the, their, them, then, theory, there, these, they, thick, thin, thing, this, those, though, thought, thread, throat, through, thumb, thunder, ticket, tight, tired, till, time, tin, to, toe, together, tomorrow, tongue, took, tooth, top, touch, town, trade, train, transport, tray, tree, trick, trousers, true, trouble, turn, twist .

Intl: tapioca, taxi, tea, telegram, telephone, television, ten, terrace, theater, thermometer, third, thirteen, thirty, thousand, three, Thursday, toast, tobacco, torpedo, Tuesday, turbine, twenty-one, twelve, twenty, twice, two .

Next: tailor, tame, tap, tear, tent, term, texture, thickness, thief, thimble, thorax, threat, thrust, tide, tie, tissue, tongs, too, total, towel, tower, traffic, tragedy, transmission, transparent, trap, travel, treatment, triangle, truck, tube, tune, tunnel, twin, typist .

Compound: today, tonight, tradesman .

Endings: talking (of), teacher, touching (up), trader, trainer, training, troubling, troubled, turning (over) .


Basic: umbrella, under, unit, up, us, use .

Intl: university .

Next: ugly, unconformity, understanding, universe, unknown .

Compound: underclothing, undercooked, undergo, undergrowth, undermined, undersigned, undersized, understatement, undertake, undervalued, undo, upkeep, uplift, upon, upright, uproot, uptake .

Endings: used (to) .


Basic: value, verse, very, vessel, view, violent, voice .

Intl: vanilla, violin, visa, vitamin, vodka, volt .

Next: valency, valley, valve, vapor, variable, vascular, vegetable, velocity, vestigial, victim, victory, volume, vortex, vote .

Compound: viewpoint .


Basic: walk, wall, waiting, war, warm, was, wash, waste, watch, water, wave, wax, way, we, weather, week, weight, well, went, were, west, wet, what, wheel, when, where, which, while, whip, whistle, white, who, whom, whose, why, wide, will, wind, window, wine, wing, winter, wire, wise, with, woman, wood, wool, word, work, worm, would, wound, writing, wrong .

Intl: Wednesday, whisky .

Next: weak, wedge, welcome, whether, wholesale, widow, wife, wild, world, wreck, wrist .

Compound: waterfall, weekend, well-being, well-off, whatever, whenever, whereas, whereby, wherever, whichever, whitewash, whoever, windpipe, within, without, woodwork, workhouse .

Endings: waiter, worker, working (on, out, up), writer, waiting, wasted .

X, Y, Z

Basic: year, yellow, yes, yesterday, you, young .

Intl: zebra, zinc, Zoology .

Next: yawn.

Compound: x-ray, yearbook, yourself, zookeeper .