The Simple English Wikipedia is a free encyclopedia for people who are learning English. The Simple English Wikipedia's articles can be used to help with school homework or just for the fun of learning about new ideas. Non-English Wikipedias can also translate from the articles here.
Wikipedia started on January 15, 2001 and it has over 35,000,000 articles in many languages, including 166,252 in Simple English. Most of these articles are in languages other than English. Every day hundreds of people from around the world make hundreds of changes and create lots of new articles.
Note: Wikipedia has pages that some people might think are bad, vulgar or mean. Read the Wikipedia content disclaimer for more information.
What is the Simple English Wikipedia?
Articles in the Simple English Wikipedia use fewer words and grammar that is easier to understand than the ordinary English Wikipedia. The Simple English Wikipedia is also for people with different needs, such as children, students and adults with learning difficulties, and people who are trying to learn English. Other people may use the Simple English Wikipedia because simple language helps them to understand unfamiliar topics or complex ideas.
When the Simple English Wikipedia began, the ordinary English Wikipedia already had 150,000 articles, and seven other Wikipedias in other languages had over 15,000 articles. Since the other Wikipedias already have so many articles, most Simple English articles take articles from other Wikipedias and make them simple; they are usually not new articles.
This makes Simple English articles a good way to understand difficult articles from the ordinary English Wikipedia. If someone cannot understand an idea in complex English, they can read the Simple English article. For this reason, people writing Simple English articles should put in "interwiki links" to and from the other Wikipedias. Also, it is good to always look at all versions in all languages, to get new ideas.
"Wikipedia:What Wikipedia is not" has a good list of things which we are not doing. These things are a little different from the things the ordinary English Wikipedia does not do. For example, in the Simple English version it is more important to explain slang, idioms, and jargon. The Simple English Wikipedia also has some articles that are also in the Wiktionary.
Changing pages in the Simple English Wikipedia
Wikipedia is a wiki, a kind of web site written by many people together. This means anyone can change any page by clicking on the "change this page" link. You can do this on any page that is not protected. You can see if the page is protected because it will say "View source" instead of "Change".
Anyone can write in the Simple English Wikipedia. Simple English writers are very mixed, more so than at English Wikipedia, or at other Wikipedias. It is important to respect the different types of people who are writing articles in the Simple English Wikipedia, and to be friendly with people who have trouble speaking English. Remember that Wikipedia is a service which many communities use.
If you want to write articles for the Simple English Wikipedia, read Wikipedia:How to write Simple English articles. See Wikipedia for a simple English introduction to the project in all languages, and Wikipedia:Useful for a list of pages that can help you more. You can ask questions at Wikipedia:Simple talk.
Any pages that you write and any changes that you make are yours. A license called the GNU Free Documentation License guarantees that people will always be able to use and make copies of all of Wikipedia including your pages and changes. Read the page about copyrights for more information.
Simple English is similar to English, but it only uses basic words.
We suggest that articles should use only the 1,000 most common and basic words in English. They should also use only simple grammar and shorter sentences. Writers can also use a special system, for example, Basic English. Of course, people can write original articles; these could be put in both this and the English Wikipedia (with a normal level of English). Usually, only about 2,000 words are enough to write a normal article.
Since some articles need more than the most common words words, some complex articles use more words. But even very basic concepts (zero, one, two) are too difficult to explain with a small number of words.
For detailed writing about science, politics, or religion, articles sometimes need more words, but the English must be simple. Sometimes, an article needs words not included in the Basic English combined wordlist, but it explains all the difficult words. Articles may also need some complex words because of the article names in the ordinary English Wikipedia, and to use normal words would make the article too simple. Articles on scientific topics might also need complex words.
There are no rules about vocabulary, tense or suffixes. Some articles use only Basic English (850 words), but this wiki has no strong rules about which words can be used, as E Prime does. If a word is not simple or not used often here, it should be explained on a new page.
Proposals to close the Simple English Wikipedia
There have been proposals to close the Simple English Wikipedia. Proposals in October 2007 and in October 2008 lost. Another proposal was made in June 2018. That proposal resulted in the Simple English Wikipedia remaining online.
Be part of Wikipedia
- Welcome, newcomers!, a place to start for new people.
- Rules for how to behave on Wikipedia.
- How to edit pages and do other things on Wikipedia.
Getting in touch
- Contact us
- Simple talk, a place to ask questions
- Wikipedia mailing lists
- Bug reports and feature requests
- Wikipedians, a list of people who help with Wikipedia
- Meta Wiki, more about Wikipedia and other projects like it
Other wiki projects
- Wiktionary has a dictionary and thesaurus in lots of languages. They also have word histories, translations, grammar rules, and pages about how to say words correctly. There is a Simple English Wiktionary.
- Wikibooks is a place that makes books, including online books for children and cookbooks.
- Wikiquote has quotations in every language.
- Wikisource has public domain books and other writing.
- Wikinews has free news articles and lots of people to talk about them.
- Wikiversity is a free online school.
- Wikimedia Commons has all the pictures, sound and videos ([media]) for all the Wikis.
- Wikivoyage a travel site hosted by the Wikimedia Foundation
- Wikispecies, a list of animals, plants, and other types of living things
- Meta-Wiki is where people organize and talk about all the wikis.
- Plain English Campaign
- Readability test
- Wikipedia:How to write Simple English articles
- Technical evaluation of simplicity: A discussion and analysis of this topic from WP:Simple talk in August 2016.
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