[WORD PEOPLE] What Is the Average Vocabulary Size?

What is the average vocabulary size of a native English adult speaker?

Assuming that one word includes a base word and all its inflected forms and derivations, pick one:

  1. 500 words
  2. 8,000 words
  3. 17,000 words
  4. 32,000 words


If you picked “C. 17,000 words” you are correct!

A study completed by E.B. Zechmeister, A.M. Chronis, W.L. Cull, C.A. D’Anna and N.A. Healy in 1995 showed that junior high students would be able to recognize the meanings of about 10,000–12,000 words, whereas for college students this number grows to about 12,000–17,000 and for elderly adults up to about 17,000 or more.

Source: iteslj.org

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