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Richard Nordquist

Learning to Read the 100 Most Important Words*

By June 27, 2008

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Rhetorician I.A. Richards (1893-1979) called them the most important words for two reasons:

  1. They cover the ideas we can least avoid using, those which are concerned in all that we do as thinking begins.

  2. They are words we are forced to use in explaining other words because it is in terms of the ideas they cover that the meanings of other words must be given.
    (How to Read a Page: A Course in Effective Reading, With an Introduction to a Hundred Great Words, W. W. Norton, 1942)
And here are those important words . . ..

For the complete article, go to The 100 Most Important Words in English.


July 2, 2008 at 7:10 am
(1) Rita says:

Your list of 100 most important words had a number of words used by the presidential candidates – change- political – etc. Because these words are so ambiguous is why people respond to them -positively or negatively.
thanks for helping me to understand. Rita

July 2, 2008 at 11:27 am
(2) Patricia Parker says:

What happened to God?

January 5, 2011 at 6:51 pm
(3) Glenn R Harrington says:

On the sociology of knowledge, including the sociology of meaning, I find “The Social Construction of Reality” by Berger & Luckmann a handy book.
Regarding ontology and the mind void of thought concepts and language, I find Oscar Ichazo enlightening. Thank you for taking me there, and to these touch points.

February 14, 2011 at 4:29 am
(4) ashdiu says:

Not everyone believes In God. There are more Non-Believers like myself than Believers like you.

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