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Book: Essays on the Essay and Other Essays by Eric LeMay

No one knows how many words make up the English language. The last printed edition of the Oxford English Dictionary, the world’s largest, has 615,000 entries. That was in 1989. Today, the online version adds roughly 2,500 words every quarter. Even so, this list doesn’t capture the lexical profusion of English. The Global Language Monitor, a company that tracks English usage throughout the world, estimates that, as of January 1st, 2014, English has 1,025,109.8 words. And yet, of these million or so words, we use only about a hundred of them in approximately 50% of everything we speak or write.

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