Our English vocabulary test (wordORnot) is online now

After the success of our Dutch vocabulary test, we’ve developed an English version (wordORnot). The task is the same: you get 100 letter sequences and you have to indicate which are existing English words and which not. Guessing is discouraged, because you are penalized if you say “yes” to a nonword.

Our experiences with the Dutch vocabulary test show us that in the beginning there are some questionable (not to say bad) nonwords and words (for which we apologize). These are next to unavoidable given that we are using so many stimuli. However, on the basis of the responses and the feedback we get (an example of crowdsourcing), the lists are regularly updated, so that after a few days / weeks (depending on the popularity of the test) these problematic cases should be gone. In general, problematic words or nonwords should not change the score by more than 5%.

Enjoy the English Vocabulary Test!

See the Twitter trail here.

Read the first forum discussions after the launch of the test here (UK), here and here (USA).


  • Jan 31, 2014: After two days the test has been done 50K times already with lots of feedback

  • Feb 1, 2014: 100K tests completed

  • Feb 16, 2014 : 200K

  • May 20, 2014 : 480K. First cleaning of the lists. Words out: 300 problematic words (the letters, abbreviations, and some long compound words that are usually written in two words) plus 2,300 very low frequency derived words ending on -ness or -ly (we had too many of them). Words in: 1,300 words from a new frequency list (many science related words). Nonwords out: 8,000 with false acceptance rates of more than 33% (such as ammicably, peachness, ….). Nonwords in: 22,000 nonwords that look like science words or monosyllabic nonwords from the ARC nonword database (because many of the nonwords that had to be dropped were monosyllabic).

Here you find the Dutch test (woordentest).

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