I Know Some Words

I came across this vocabulary test on the vile Tumblr. It’s part of a research project and I’m not sure how they come up with the final score. You work through two lists of words and then give some simple information about yourself, nothing intrusive.

I scored 29,300. According to their data, most adults have a vocabulary between 20,000 to 35,000. Alright, now show me up.



9 thoughts on “I Know Some Words

  1. 28,900.

    I had a reading teacher who taught me to read around a tough word in order to at least try an guess it’s meaning. That has been both a boon and a curse, because now I’m bad at remembering words I don’t use, or look up while I’m reading and then keep reading, but I’m good at guessing what words mean within a context. I can understand them in a sentence, but I couldn’t tell you the definition if you asked me cold.

    In graduate school, I kept a notebook of new words, and words I ‘knew’ but didn’t ‘know’ specifically to combat this. I have many pages of words and definitions, and I’m shocked at how many duplicates are in there.

  2. My actual score was 27,700.

    Scott! Your two masters degrees are worth exactly 1,200 words. That’s 600 words each, or just over half of one picture.

    Update: Oops. I scored higher than that. Sorry. Joke retracted.

  3. Scott, I had that same experience in school. I had to make a point of looking up definitions when I became self conscious of using the words myself. I felt like I was speaking another language when using a word I’m unsure of. I still do it.

    I also started doing a lot of crossword puzzles in my mid-20s. I actually knew what a bivouac was when Dan brought it up in his game because of them.

  4. Similar. I had English teachers from around the nation tell me to read for “context clues.” That knowing any specific word was secondary to understanding the meaning of the sentence.

    This led to some strangely ill-defined words creeping into my vocabulary. They still pop up every now and again.

  5. Just being raised Catholic was enough for me. I feel guilty when I sneeze without covering my mouth properly in public. And when I’m up for a murder rap? Forget it!

    I wonder what Tim would score with his unnecessary knowledge of Latin-based medical terminology.

  6. Email I just received from my dad:


    He reads a lot and has an English degree. I wonder if he was taught to just figure it out through context like the rest of us.

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