Friday, December 10, 2010

An interactive list of the most common English words

This will blow your mind. They have 86,800 of them. Check it out here!

The is number 1.
Gentle is number 3270, just ahead of precise and encouraging.
Pickle is number 24469.

Number 100 is got.
Number 1000 is James
Number 10,000 is sewing.

You know, I figure this has to be useful for writers. Very often the commonest words are the ones that sound most generic - so this might be a good way to measure whether you're being too generic, or too specific, for the context you're working in.


  1. Another good signposting. Thank you again!

  2. That is quite neat, but I wonder at their algorithm...

    Ogled is ranked as 83955 right next to mcilwaine.

    If it's ranked in order of usage (and no, I didn't search for ogled ;), I did random clicks) I don't expect a word I know well to be next to one I've never heard of.

  3. Yes, I'd been wondering too, but I do know they include names and names of companies. So I'd guess McIlwaine might be a name...?

  4. That could be. And capitalized the way you did it, the word looks more plausible. Irish fail. I should have realized it was a Mc, but I missed that it included proper names.

  5. And "What If" is 46 and 47. Very cool pairing.