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Commonest words

by Mark Israel
 
     [This is a fast-access FAQ excerpt.]

According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the commonest
word in written English is "the," followed by: of, and, to, a, in,
that, is, I, it, for, as.  The commonest word in the King James
Version of the Bible is also "the".  The commonest word in spoken
English is "I."

   Frequency Analysis of English Vocabulary and Grammar: Based on
the LOB Corpus by Stig Johansson and Knut Hofland (OUP, 1989, ISBN
0-19-8242212-2) gives the top eighteen words and their frequencies
as:

      1.  the       68315
      2.  of        35716
      3.  and       27856
      4.  to        26760
      5.  a         22744
      6.  in        21108
      7.  that      11188
      8.  is        10978
      9.  was       10499
     10.  it        10010
     11.  for        9299
     12.  he         8776
     13.  as         7337
     14.  with       7197
     15.  be         7186
     16.  on         7027
     17.  I          6696
     18.  his        6266

   The American Heritage Word Frequency Book by John B. Carroll,
Peter Davies, and Barry Richman (Houghton Mifflin, 1971, ISBN
0-395-13570-2) gives the top 300 words in order of frequency and in
groups of 100 as:

the of and a to in is you that it he for was on are as with his they
at be this from I have or by one had not but what all were when we
there can an your which their said if do will each about how up out
them then she many some so these would other into has more her two
like him see time could no make than first been its who now people
my made over did down only way find use may water long little very
after words called just where most know

get through back much before go good new write our used me man too
any day same right look think also around another came come work
three word must because does part even place well such here take why
things help put years different away again off went old number great
tell men say small every found still between name should Mr home big
give air line set own under read last never us left end along while
might next sound below saw something thought both few those always
looked show large often together asked house don't world going want

school important until 1 form food keep children feet land side
without boy once animals life enough took sometimes four head above
kind began almost live page got earth need far hand high year mother
light parts country father let night following 2 picture being study
second eyes soon times story boys since white days ever paper hard
near sentence better best across during today others however sure
means knew it's try told young miles sun ways thing whole hear
example heard several change answer room sea against top turned 3
learn point city play toward five using himself usually