It is a highly compact and serviceable unit of the English language, in the sense that people may express themselves in it for a wide variety of purposes and that it already possesses an extensive literature. It is also a self-contained unit, a language in miniature. Moreover, since it is simple but not distorted English and since it selects for attention the most essential words, uses, and grammar, it is the best foundation for any wider study of the language. For a foreigner bent on complete mastery of English, the sky's the limit ; a lifetime may be spent in studying its finer points. But the first step is to learn enough English to be able to express oneself in it freely and with confidence. Basic English achieves this limited objective with the greatest possible economy of time and effort.The selection is the outcome of a comprehensive and systematic survey of the language, which disclosed among other important facts that the numerous complex verbs of English could be covered with the help of sixteen simple operators and two auxiliaries. It is not based on statistics, nor is it merely a random collection of useful and common words. Each word has its place in the system because of the work it will do in combination with the rest. In this way alone has it been possible to produce an effective vocabulary of English within so small a compass.