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Common English Words

A list of the most common English words ordered by their frequency of use. You can use this list to learn words efficiently, ensuring you cover the basic vocabulary of English.

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Rank Word Root Meanings
 
1 the 1. art. Definite grammatical article that implies necessarily that an entity it articulates is presupposed, something already mentioned, or completely specified later in that same sentence, or assumed already
2. art. Used before an object considered to be unique, or of which there is only one at a time. (from 10th c.)
3. art. With a superlative, it and that superlative refer to one object. (from 9th c.)
4. art. Introducing a term to be taken generically, preceding a name of something standing for a whole class. (from 9th c.)
5. art. Used before an adjective, indicating all things (especially persons) described by that adjective. (from 9th c.)
2 to 1. part. A particle used for marking the following verb as an infinitive.
2. part. As above, with the verb implied.
3. prep. Indicating destination: In the direction of, and arriving at.
4. prep. Used to indicate purpose.
5. prep. Used to indicate result of action.
3 a 1. n. A spoken sound represented by the letter a or A, as in map, mall, or male.
2. n. A written representation of the letter A or a.
3. n. A printer's type or stamp used to reproduce the letter a.
4. n. An item having the shape of the letter a or A.
5. art. One, any indefinite example of, used to denote a singular item of a group.( Attested before 1150)
4 and 1. conj. As a coordinating conjunction, expressing two elements to be taken together or in addition to each other.
2. conj. Expressing a condition.
5 you 1. pron. (object pronoun) The people spoken, or written to, as an object. (from 9th c.)
2. pron. (reflexive now US colloquial) (To) yourselves, (to) yourself. (from 9th c.)
3. pron. (object pronoun) The person spoken to or written to, as an object. (Replacing thee, originally as a mark of respect.) (from 13th c.)
4. pron. (subject pronoun) The people spoken to or written to, as a subject. (Replacing ye.) (from 14th c.)
5. pron. (subject pronoun) The person spoken to or written to, as a subject. (Originally as a mark of respect.) (from 15th c.)
6 I 1. abbrev. (US, roadway) interstate
2. pron. The speaker or writer, referred to as the grammatical subject, of a sentence.
3. n. (metaphysics) The ego.
7 of 1. prep. (en-prep)
2. prep. Expressing direction.
3. prep.    From (of distance, direction), off. (from the 9th c.)
4. prep.    Since, from (a given time, earlier state etc.). (from the 9th c.)
5. prep.    From, away from (a position, number, distance etc.). (from the 10th c.)
8 in 1. prep. Contained by.
2. prep. Surrounded by.
3. prep. Part of, a member of.
4. prep. Pertaining to (that particular thing).
5. prep. Immediately after a period of time.
9 it 1. pron. The third-person singular personal pronoun used to refer to an inanimate object, to an inanimate thing with no or unknown sex or gender.
2. pron. The third-person singular personal pronoun used to refer to an animate entity of unknown gender.
3. pron. Used to refer to oneself when identifying oneself, often on the phone, but not limited to this situation.
4. pron. The impersonal pronoun, used without referent as the subject of an impersonal verb or statement. (known as the dummy pronoun or weather it)
5. pron. The impersonal pronoun, used as a placeholder for a delayed subject, or less commonly, object. (known as the dummy pronoun)
10 that 1. conj. Connecting noun clause (as involving reported speech etc.), introducing a subordinate noun clause. (from 9th c.)
2. conj. With antecedent so or such: introducing the result of the main clause. (from 11th c.)
3. pron. The (thing) being indicated (at a distance from the speaker, or previously mentioned, or at another time).
4. pron. (demonstrative) That thing or person. (from 9th c.)
5. pron. (relative) Which, who. (from 9th c.)
11 is 1. v. third-person singular of be
be 1. vi. To exist, to have real existence.
2. v. With there as dummy subject: to exist.
3. vi. To occupy a place.
4. vi. To occur, to take place.
5. vi. elliptical form of "be here", "go to and return from" or similar.
12 for 1. conj. because
2. prep. Towards.
3. prep. Directed at, intended to belong to.
4. prep. Supporting (opposite of against).
5. prep. Because of.
13 he 1. pron. (personal) Refers to a male person or animal already known or implied.
2. pron. (personal) Refers to a person whose gender is unknown.
3. pron. (personal) Refers to an animal whose gender is unknown.
4. n. The game of tag, or it, in which the player attempting to catch the others is called "he".
5. n. The name of the fifth letter of many Semitic alphabets (Phoenician, Aramaic, Hebrew, Syriac, Arabic and others).
14 was 1. v. First-person singular simple past tense indicative of be.
2. v. Third-person singular simple past tense indicative of be.
3. v. (proscribed, dialect) Second-person singular simple past tense indicative of be.
be 1. vi. To exist, to have real existence.
2. v. With there as dummy subject: to exist.
3. vi. To occupy a place.
4. vi. To occur, to take place.
5. vi. elliptical form of "be here", "go to and return from" or similar.
15 have 1. vt. To possess, own, hold.
2. vt. To be related in some way to (with the object identifying the relationship).
3. vt. To partake of a particular substance (especially a food or drink) or action.
4. v. (auxiliary verb, taking a past participle) Used in forming the perfect aspect and the past perfect aspect.
5. v. (auxiliary verb, taking a to-infinitive) must.
16 on 1. adj. in the state of being active, functioning or operating
2. adj. performing according to schedule
3. adj. (UK, informal) Acceptable, appropriate.
4. adj. (baseball, informal) Having reached a base as a runner and being positioned there, awaiting further action from a subsequent batter.
5. adv. to an operating state
17 be 1. vi. To exist, to have real existence.
2. v. With there as dummy subject: to exist.
3. vi. To occupy a place.
4. vi. To occur, to take place.
5. vi. elliptical form of "be here", "go to and return from" or similar.
18 with 1. prep. against
2. prep. in the company of, alongside, along side of, close to, near to:
3. prep. in addition to, as an accessory to:
4. prep. Used to indicate simultaneous happening, or immediate succession or consequence.
5. prep. in support of:
19 me 1. pron. As the direct object of a verb.
2. pron. As the object of a preposition.
3. pron. As the indirect object of a verb.
4. pron. (US, colloquial) Myself, as a reflexive indirect object of a verb, the ethical dative.
5. pron. (colloquial) As the complement of the copula (“be” or “is”).
20 this 1. pron. The (thing) here (used in indicating something or someone nearby).
2. pron. The known (thing) (used in indicating something or someone just mentioned).
3. pron. The known (thing) (used in indicating something or someone about to be mentioned).
4. pron. A known (thing) (used in first mentioning a person or thing that the speaker does not think is known to the audience). Compare with "a certain ...".
5. adv. To the degree or extent indicated.
21 but 1. prep. (en-prep)
2. prep. Outside of.
     Away but the hoose and tell me whae's there.
3. prep. Without, apart from, except.
     Everyone but Father left early.
22 not 1. adv. Negates the meaning of the modified verb.
2. adv. To no degree
3. conj. And not.
4. interj. (slang) Used to indicate that the previous phrase was meant sarcastically or ironically.
5. n. Unary logical function NOT, true if input is false, or a gate implementing that negation function.
23 we 1. pron. (personal) The speakers/writers, or the speaker/writer and at least one other person.
2. pron. (personal) The speaker/writer alone. (The use of we in the singular is the editorial we, used by writers and others, including royalty—the royal we—as a less personal substitute for I. The reflexive c
3. pron. The speakers/writers, or the speaker/writer and at least one other person.
24 are 1. v. second-person singular simple present tense of be
     Mary, where are you going?
2. v. first-person plural simple present tense of be
     We are not coming.
3. v. second-person plural simple present tense of be
be 1. vi. To exist, to have real existence.
2. v. With there as dummy subject: to exist.
3. vi. To occupy a place.
4. vi. To occur, to take place.
5. vi. elliptical form of "be here", "go to and return from" or similar.
25 my 1. pron. (attributive) Belonging to me.
2. interj. (dated) Used to express surprise, shock or amazement.
26 what 1. pron. (interrogative) which thing, event, circumstance, etc.: used interrogatively in asking for the specification of an identity, quantity, quality, etc.
2. pron. (UK, colloquial) An interrogative which asks "Don't you agree?"
3. pron. (relative nonstandard) that, which
4. pron. (relative) that which, those that, the thing that
5. adv. In some manner or degree, in part, partly, usually followed by with.
27 as 1. adv. To such an extent or degree.
2. adv. In the manner or role specified.
3. adv. (dated) For example.
4. conj. In the same way that, according to what.
5. conj. At the same instant that, when.
28 all 1. adv. (degree) intensifier.
2. adv. Apiece, each.
3. adv. (degree) So much.
4. pron. Every individual or anything of the given class, with no exceptions (the noun or noun phrase denoting the class must be plural or un).
5. pron. Throughout the whole of (a stated period of time, generally used with units of a day or longer).
29 they 1. pron. (the third person plural) A group of people or objects previously mentioned.
2. pron. (the third person singular disputed) A single person, previously mentioned, but of unknown or irrelevant gender. (since the 1400s)
3. pron. (indefinite pronoun, vague meaning) People, some people, someone, excluding the speaker.
30 at 1. prep. In or very near a particular place.
2. prep. (indicating time) Simultaneous.
3. prep. In the direction of (often in an unfocused or uncaring manner).
4. prep. Occupied in (activity).
5. prep. Indicates a position on a scale or in a series.
Dictionary entries from Wiktionary