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Roshani Champika
Roshani Champika


4000 Essential English Words: A Review

If you are looking for a series of books that can help you improve your English vocabulary, you may have come across the 4000 Essential English Words by Paul Nation. This is a set of six books that covers 4000 of the most common and useful words in English. Each book has 30 units, and each unit introduces 20 new words with clear definitions, example sentences, and exercises. The books also come with audio files that let you listen to the words and stories that use them. But are these books worth your time and money? In this article, we will review the 4000 Essential English Words series and give you some tips on how to use them effectively.


What are the advantages of the 4000 Essential English Words series?

There are many benefits of using the 4000 Essential English Words series to learn vocabulary. Here are some of them:

  • The words are carefully selected based on their frequency and usefulness in spoken and written English. According to the author, learning these words will help you understand at least 80% of the words in newspapers and academic texts.

  • The words are presented in a logical and thematic way. Each unit focuses on a specific topic, such as animals, health, sports, etc. This makes it easier to remember the words and their meanings, as well as to learn related words.

  • The words are taught in context. Each unit has a short story that uses all the new words in a natural and engaging way. The stories are also accompanied by illustrations and comprehension questions to help you check your understanding.

  • The words are reinforced with various exercises. After each unit, there are exercises that test your spelling, pronunciation, meaning, usage, and collocations of the new words. The exercises are designed to help you review and consolidate what you have learned.

  • The books are suitable for learners of different levels. The series covers words from beginner to intermediate level, and each book has a different level of difficulty. You can start from the book that matches your current level and progress to the next one as you improve.

What are the disadvantages of the 4000 Essential English Words series?

Despite its many advantages, the 4000 Essential English Words series also has some drawbacks that you should be aware of. Here are some of them:

  • The books are not very interactive. The exercises are mostly paper-based and do not provide immediate feedback. You will need to check your answers with the answer key at the end of each book or with a teacher or a partner.

  • The books do not cover all the aspects of vocabulary learning. The books focus mainly on teaching the meaning and usage of the words, but they do not cover other important aspects such as synonyms, antonyms, word formation, idioms, phrasal verbs, etc. You will need to supplement your learning with other resources if you want to expand your vocabulary further.

  • The books can be boring if used alone. The books have a similar format and structure for each unit, which can become repetitive and monotonous if you use them without any variation. You will need to spice up your learning with other activities and materials to keep yourself motivated and interested.

How can you use the 4000 Essential English Words series effectively?

To get the most out of the 4000 Essential English Words series, you need to use them in a smart and strategic way. Here are some tips on how to do that:

  • Set a realistic goal for yourself. Do not try to learn too many words at once or rush through the books. Instead, set a reasonable pace for yourself and stick to it. For example, you can aim to learn one unit per day or per week, depending on your schedule and level.

  • Review the words regularly. Do not just learn the words once and forget about them. Instead, review them frequently using various methods, such as flashcards, quizzes, games, etc. You can also use online tools such as [Anki] or [Quizlet] to create your own digital flashcards and quizzes based on the words from the books.

  • Use the words in context. Do not just memorize the words and their definitions. Instead, use them in meaningful sentences and situations. You can write your own sentences or stories using the words, or use them in conversations with other English learners or native speakers. You can also look for the words in authentic texts and listenings, such as [news articles], [podcasts], [songs], etc.

  • Learn from your mistakes. Do not be afraid to make mistakes when using the words. Instead, learn from them and correct them. You can ask for feedback from your teacher or a partner, or use online tools such as [Grammarly] or [Hemingway] to check your writing for errors and suggestions.


The 4000 Essential English Words series is a valuable resource for anyone who wants to improve their English vocabulary. The books cover a wide range of words that are useful and frequent in English, and they teach them in a clear and systematic way. However, the books are not perfect and they have some limitations that you need to consider. To use the books effectively, you need to set a realistic goal, review the words regularly, use them in context, and learn from your mistakes. By doing so, you will be able to master the 4000 essential English words and take your English to the next level.




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