11 May '11 04:44>
My 18 month old computer keyboard is still in pretty good nick with almost all letters clearly visible - white lettering on the black plastic background. But why has my letter 'n' disappeared? And why is 'm' almost gone too? Why only these two?
The most commonly used letter in the English language is the letter “e”. This is the case in the general language, in fiction and non-fiction writings, journalism, religious works like the Bible, and even in Morse code. The most common consonant in the English language is “t.”
With “e” being so common in the English language, one would think that it would start the most words. Actually “t” begins the most words, followed by “o.” “E” is the letter which most commonly occurs third in a word, and is the third most common second letter in a word. The most common second letter in a word in the English language is h.
Actually, “e” is far down the list of English language word beginners, and comes in at the 15th place. The five most common letters beginning words are “t,” “o,” “a,” “w,” and “b.”
Approximately half of the words in the English language end with the letters “e,” “t,” “d,” and “s” with the greatest share of words ending in “e.” Further, there are four letters most likely to follow “e" in a word. These are “r,” “s,” “n,” and “d.”
Ironically, of the most common words with two letters in the English language, only three words actually have an “e.” They are be, we, and me. As well, in the top twenty most frequently written English language words, only three words have an “e.” These are “the,” the most frequently used word in the English language, and “he” and “be.” However, when one analyzes most frequently used three-letter words, “e” gets a fairer share.
When teaching children spelling, it can be fun to play a game with them, where one says only words that do not contain an “e.” It is pretty difficult to get through more than a few sentences without a slip. The “e” is fairly indispensable. For example, this article alone contains 193 of them. I have also used the most common diphthong “th” 63 times, and the most common consonant “t” 151 times.