Most Common Letters in English: A Friendly Guide

Have you ever wondered which letters are used most frequently in the English language? Being able to identify the most common letters can be helpful in various situations, such as solving word puzzles (i.e. Wordle), creating mnemonic devices, or understanding linguistic patterns. In this article, you’ll learn about the most common letters in English based on their frequency in words and how these trends can impact language usage and perception.

The rankings for the most used letters are derived from studies analyzing word frequency in dictionaries and written texts. To give you an idea of which letters dominate the English language, the top five most common letters are E, A, R, I, and O. Among these, the letter E takes the crown, appearing in about 11% of words. This may be due to its presence in frequently used words like “the,” plurals ending in -es, and common pronouns such as he, she, me, we, and they. Knowing these patterns can help you become more aware of the way certain letters shape the language and how they contribute to its overall structure.

Most Common Letters in English

Prevalence of ‘E’ and ‘S’

You might find it interesting that the most common letter in the English language is ‘E’. It appears in a staggering 11.16% of words, often due to its presence in the word “the”, plurals ending in -es, and commonly used pronouns like he, she, me, we, and they. Another frequently used letter is ‘S’, which is the most common letter for starting words. However, the most commonly used initial letter is actually ‘T’, as in “the”, “to”, “that”, or “there”.

Letter Frequency: “Etaoin Shrdlu”

Have you heard of the term “etaoin shrdlu”? It may sound like a mysterious code, but it’s actually a sequence of the most frequent letters in the English language, arranged in descending order of occurrence. Here’s how the sequence looks:

  • E – 11.1607%
  • T – 9.06%
  • A – 8.4966%
  • O – 7.1635%
  • I – 7.5448%
  • N – 6.75%
  • S – 6.33%
  • H – 5.99%
  • R – 5.99%
  • D – 4.32%
  • L – 3.98%
  • U – 2.88%

This sequence is even used in keyboard layouts like Dvorak and Colemak, where the most frequent letters are placed on the home row for efficiency.

Most Common Letters in English

Relevance of Consonants and Vowels

Understanding the frequency of consonants and vowels in the English language can give you valuable insights into patterns of speech, writing, and even learning. For instance, the letters A, E, I, O, and U are vowels, which play essential roles in facilitating smooth transitions between consonants when you speak. As you can see, vowels appear quite prominently in the list of most common letters, with E, A, and I, taking the top spots. In contrast, consonants like R and S are also heavily used due to their prevalence in many common words and word formations.

You can use this knowledge of letter frequencies when trying to create sentences, form words, or even decipher word puzzles. It’s a fascinating look at the elements that form the foundation of the English language!


Involvement in Wordle and Scrabble

Wordle’s Strategy with Most Common Letters

In Wordle, a popular daily word puzzle game, players try to guess a five-letter word within six attempts. As you play, you can improve your chances of winning by basing your strategy on letter frequency in English. In five-letter words, the top 10 most common letters are: A, E, S, O, R, I, L, T, N, and U. By focusing on these frequent letters, you increase the likelihood of guessing the correct word.

For example, you could begin with a common starting word that includes these frequent letters. Some players have found success by starting with words like ‘table’ or ‘later’. Remember, the more you learn about letter frequency in various word lengths, the better your chances of winning.

Letter Frequencies in Scrabble

Scrabble is another popular word game that relies heavily on the knowledge of letter frequencies in the English language. In Scrabble, you score points by forming words on a game board using letter tiles. The score for each word is determined by the point value of its letters and any bonus squares it covers on the board.

Understanding letter frequencies helps you make better decisions when forming words in Scrabble. Here’s a quick breakdown of the most common letters in English and their respective Scrabble values:

Letter Frequency Scrabble Value
E 11.1607% 1
A 8.4966% 1
R 7.5809% 1
I 7.5448% 1
O 7.1635% 1

As you play Scrabble, keep in mind the frequency and point values of letters like E, A, R, I, and O. By utilizing these common letters effectively, you’ll have a better chance of maximizing your points and, ultimately, winning the game.

In summary, knowing the most common letters in English can be a valuable asset in games and contests like Wordle and Scrabble. By incorporating this knowledge into your gameplay strategy, you can improve your chances of success. Good luck, and may the letter frequencies be on your side!

References from Respected Sources

Deciphered from Oxford Dictionaries

According to a study done by Lexico, E is the most used letter in the English language, appearing in about 11% of words in the Concise Oxford Dictionary. A, R, I, and O follow as part of the top five most common letters. Here is a list of letter frequencies according to the study:

  • E – 11.1607%
  • A – 8.4966%

Noticed Patterns in Dictation

As you analyze various English texts, you may notice that the most common vowels are E, A, and I, while the most frequently occurring consonants are R, T, and N. This insight can help you understand the flow and structure of the English vocabulary better.

Wikipedia’s Depiction of Letter Frequencies

Wikipedia provides an in-depth analysis of letter frequencies in various languages, including English. With the help of charts and graphs, you can easily visualize the relative frequencies of each letter on this page.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the top 5 most frequent consonants?

The top 5 most frequent consonants in English, in order, are: R, S, T, L, and N. You might notice that these letters often appear in many common words and phrases, which may help with memorizing their frequency.

Which are the 10 most used consonants in words?

The 10 most used consonants in words are: R, S, T, L, N, D, C, M, P, and H. Understanding the frequency of each can be beneficial when trying to improve your vocabulary or decipher unfamiliar words.

Which consonants appear most in 5-letter words?

For 5-letter words, the most common consonants are: S, R, L, T, and N. These consonants often form the backbone of many 5-letter words in the English language.

Plus, explore more: 5 Letter Words with These Letters

Which letters are most common in English names?

In English names, some of the most common letters include A, E, I, R, and S. These letters frequently appear in both first and last names, contributing to the unique sound and structure of English names.

Why is the letter E the most frequent?

The letter E is the most frequent because it appears in approximately 11% of all English words, according to an analysis of the Concise Oxford English Dictionary. This prevalence may be due to the fact that E is a very versatile vowel, contributing to a wide range of sounds in words and easily linking with other letters in the language.

Are Q or Z more common in English texts?

It turns out that Z is more common than Q in English texts. While both letters are relatively rare compared to others in the alphabet, Z has a slightly higher frequency, possibly due to its use in more common words and names.

More posts