About the English Vocabulary Profile

Welcome to the Preview version of the English Vocabulary Profile, which covers all six levels of the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR). Letters D, J and K are available here: they feature both British and American English and are fully searchable.

The full A1-C2 version is currently available for free on the English Profile website, please visit englishprofile.org and click on the 'free subscription' icon.

If you have any comments, questions or requests, the EVP team would love to hear from you! Get in touch now.

  • What is the English Vocabulary Profile (EVP)?
  • Why is the EVP important to me?
  • How has the EVP been created?
  • What does an EVP entry include?
  • How can I work with the EVP?

What is the English Vocabulary Profile?

The EVP shows, in both British and American English, which words and phrases learners around the world know at each level - A1 to C2 - of the CEFR. Rather than providing a syllabus of the vocabulary that learners should know, the EVP project verifies what they do know at each level. CEFR levels are assigned not just to the words themselves, but to each individual meaning of these words. So, for instance, the word degree is assigned level A2 for the sense TEMPERATURE, B1 for QUALIFICATION, B2 for AMOUNT and C2 for the phrase a/some degree of (sth). The capitalized guidewords help the user to navigate longer entries, and phrases are listed separately within an entry.

Find out more about the CEFR.

Common European Framework of Reference for Languages

Why is the EVP important to me?

Whether you're a teacher, an exam writer, a materials developer or a researcher, if you work with learners of English studying at any level from beginner to advanced (A1-C2), you'll find the EVP helpful in a variety of ways...

  • To check the level of each meaning of a word or a phrase

    Words with multiple meanings are very common in English. For example, keep is in the top 500 words most frequently used in English, and different meanings and uses of this verb are learned at each level. You can set priorities for learners - which meanings should they learn first? You can also check which meanings are suitable for testing at each level.

  • To identify the words or phrases a learner can be expected to know at each level

    Searching for all words and phrases at one CEFR level - for example, A1 - can help you to develop appropriate materials for your classroom, and assist you with syllabus and lesson planning.

  • To view words or phrases within a topic area

    Advanced Search in EVP allows you to search by topic - for example, Animals, Body and Health, Clothes - and shows you the relevant words and phrases at each CEFR level. This is ideal for writing materials or lesson planning, and will help you to prioritize vocabulary items for learners.

  • To look at real learner examples

    There is a learner example for almost all meanings of the words and phrases in the EVP, taken from a large corpus of learner English that includes examples at all CEFR levels and from 203 countries around the world. These examples give you a clear illustration of the word or phrase as it is used by learners, including typical contexts and collocations.

  • To search for aspects of language such as grammar, usage and word formation

    Advanced Search will help you to identify the grammatical constraints relevant to a certain level - to determine, for example, which uncountable nouns learners can be expected to know at A1, or which verbs are frequently used in the passive form at B2.

    Usage searches can help to determine register and identify formal or informal usage, which is particularly relevant at B2 level and above.

    Searching for words containing different prefixes and suffixes will be useful if you're preparing exercises, as you can check the level at which related forms in a particular word family are learned.

How has the EVP been created?

Part of the English Profile Programme (a long-term research programme sponsored by the Council of Europe), the English Vocabulary Profile is based on extensive research using the Cambridge Learner Corpus (CLC). This is a collection of several hundred thousand examination scripts written by learners from all over the world that is added to every year. Combined with solid evidence of use in many other sources related to general English, such as examination vocabulary lists and classroom materials, the CLC confirms what learners can and cannot do at each level.

The EVP has also been informed by the Cambridge English Corpus, a multi-billion word corpus of spoken and written current English, covering British, American and other varieties. Additional sources for the C levels research have included reference lists relevant to academic English and frequency data on idioms. The EVP is a work in progress. Its aim is to reflect what learners DO know, not what they SHOULD know. If you see something in the EVP that doesn't reflect your own teaching experience, please let us know. The more people contribute, the better the EVP will be!

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What does an EVP entry include?

Each entry uses reliable information from Cambridge dictionaries and consists of:

  • a word,
  • an audio and written pronunciation,
  • grammar and usage information,
  • a level indicator (A1-C2) for each meaning or phrase,
  • a definition,
  • one or more native speaker dictionary examples, often highlighting typical collocations.
  • (Note that dictionary examples are not necessarily at the same level as the meaning itself. Where several dictionary examples are given, the simplest are displayed first.)

Most EVP entries have:

  • authentic examples of learner writing from the Cambridge Learner Corpus,
  • guidewords, in capital letters, allowing users to navigate easily through entries of words with more than one meaning,

Some EVP entries also have:

  • Word Family panels, grouping words that are formed from the same root.

    In these panels, words at C1 and C2 levels are shown in italics, to illustrate which core family members are known by B2 level and which are additional at the C levels.

How can I work with the EVP?

  • Select British English or American English by clicking a tab on the top of the search panel.
  • To browse a core list of words, phrases and phrasal verbs by level, select the level or range of levels desired, and then click Browse A-Z.
  • To view the results by letter, click Browse A-Z and select a letter from the list above the results.
  • Click on any result to display the full entry.
  • Click Outline view at the top right above the entry if you would prefer to see a shortened version of the entry, containing just the CEFR levels, guidewords/phrases and definitions.
  • To check the level of a word or phrase, just type it into the search box, then click the Search button. Guidewords alongside the search results will help you identify precise meanings.
  • You can click on words within an entry to look up their level and meaning. If the word you are looking for is not found, you can check its meaning through Cambridge Dictionaries Online.
  • To narrow your search or find groups of words, use Advanced Search to select your criteria with the drop-down menus before clicking the Search button. For example, you can select 'idioms' within the Category menu to find all the idioms included in the EVP. These are mainly at the C levels and are a new feature in this Preview version.

Click on Help for more detailed information, to get the most out of the EVP.