Letter Frequency in English

Letter Frequency in English

WordsRated’s analysis of over 172,000 English words from our database demonstrates the representation of each letter in the English language and how frequencies vary. Vowels are typically more common in words than consonants are, although there are still many consonants that are used often.

Letter frequency

What is the most used letter in the alphabet?

  • Analysis* of Wordsrated’s full wordlists shows that the most common letter in the alphabet is the letter “E”.
  • The letter “E” has been shown to appear 11.51% of the time in all words analyzed.
  • The letter “S” ranks second (9.52%) and the letter “I” ranks third (9.01%).

What is the least used letter in the alphabet?

  • Our research also shows that the letter “J” is the least common letter in the alphabet.
  • “J” is shown to appear just 0.16% of the time in the words analyzed.
  • Other low frequency letters include “Q” with a frequency of 0.16% and “X” which shows up 0.29% of the time.

(*Each instance of a letter within a word is counted in the analysis.)

LetterFrequencyRank
A7.57%#4
B1.84%#17
C4.09%#10
D3.38%#11
E11.51%#1
F1.23%#19
G2.70%#15
H2.32%#16
I9.01%#3
J0.16%#26
K0.85%#21
L5.31%#9
M2.84%#14
N6.85%#6
O6.59%#8
P2.94%#13
Q0.16%#25
R7.07%#5
S9.52%#2
T6.68%#7
U3.27%#12
V0.98%#20
W0.74%#22
X0.29%#24
Y1.63%#18
Z0.47%#23

(totals contain rounding differences)

A graph is given below to show the most common letters by frequency:

A graph is given below to show the least common letters by frequency:

Most common letters in 5-letter words

  • Our analysis of more than 8,600 words with 5 letters shows that in order of frequency, the most common letters are:
    • “S”, “E”, “A”, “O”, “R”, “I”, “L”, “T”, “N” and “D”.
  • Consonants make up 6 of the 10 most common letters in 5 letter words.
  • Vowels make up the remaining 4 letters that feature.

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LetterFrequencyRank
A8.90%#3
B2.40%#18
C3.34%#12
D3.88%#10
E10.32%#2
F1.78%#20
G2.46%#17
H2.73%#16
I5.90%#6
J0.40%#25
K2.12%#19
L5.49%#7
M2.99%#15
N4.53%#9
O6.65%#4
P3.13%#13
Q0.17%#26
R6.56%#5
S10.45%#1
T5.24%#8
U3.78%#11
V1.08%#22
W1.57%#21
X0.47%#24
Y3.12%#14
Z0.53%#23

A graph is given below to show the most common letters in 5-letter words by their frequency:

Letter frequency by position in 5-letter words

  • Our study found that for 5-letter words, the letter “S” is most likely to start or end a word.
  • A” is the letter most commonly found in the second position or in the middle of a word.
  • The letter “E” is the most common fourth positioned letter.
  • Due to using a different bank of words, frequencies per position differ from those found in the game of Wordle.
Letter1st position2nd position3rd position4th position5th position
A5.75%17.13%9.84%7.64%4.12%
B6.82%0.61%2.50%1.64%0.41%
C7.70%1.41%3.16%3.32%1.12%
D5.29%0.67%3.17%3.53%6.74%
E2.22%12.31%6.54%19.74%10.78%
F4.98%0.16%1.41%1.75%0.61%
G4.81%0.57%2.78%3.14%1.02%
H3.87%4.40%0.80%1.61%2.95%
I1.37%11.19%8.60%6.68%1.64%
J1.55%0.08%0.24%0.13%0.00%
K2.39%0.64%1.73%3.76%2.11%
L4.64%5.89%6.76%6.16%3.99%
M5.14%1.34%3.90%3.11%1.45%
N2.32%2.77%7.30%6.07%4.21%
O2.10%15.46%7.84%5.27%2.58%
P6.54%1.75%2.83%3.16%1.39%
Q0.61%0.14%0.09%0.00%0.02%
R4.85%7.47%9.16%5.28%6.06%
S12.23%0.75%3.95%4.10%31.21%
T6.35%1.92%5.13%7.23%5.56%
U1.35%9.16%5.14%2.96%0.29%
V1.86%0.45%1.93%1.12%0.02%
W3.43%1.13%1.81%1.03%0.46%
X0.15%0.51%1.05%0.09%0.54%
Y1.09%1.91%1.38%0.73%10.49%
Z0.59%0.17%0.95%0.73%0.21%

A graph is given below to show the highest letter frequency in 5-letter words by position:

Consonant frequency

How many consonants are in the alphabet?

  • In the English alphabet, there are 21 consonants.
  • The 21 consonants are “B”, “C”, “D”, “F”, “G”, “H”, “J”, “K”, “L”, “M”, “N”, “P”, “Q”, “R”, “S”, “T”, “V”, “W”, “X”, “Y” and “Z”.
  • Although the letter “Y” is known as a consonant, it can sometimes function in the same manner as a vowel depending on how it is used.

What is the most used consonant in the alphabet?

  • Our word database shows that the letter “S” is the most common consonant in the alphabet.
  • It is shown to appear 9.52% of the time in all of the words analyzed.
  • “R” is the second most used consonant (7.07%) and “N” the third-most used (6.85%).

What is the least used consonant in the alphabet?

  • In terms of the least common consonants, “J” appears less than than all other consonants.
  • It appears just 0.16% of the time out of all analyzed words.
  • The consonants “Q” and “X” also feature less often (0.16% and 0.29% respectively).
ConsonantFrequencyRank
B1.84%#12
C4.09%#6
D3.38%#7
F1.23%#14
G2.70%#10
H2.32%#11
J0.16%#21
K0.85%#16
L5.31%#5
M2.84%#9
N6.85%#3
P2.94%#8
Q0.16%#20
R7.07%#2
S9.52%#1
T6.68%#4
V0.98%#15
W0.74%#17
X0.29%#19
Y1.63%#13
Z0.47%#18

A graph is given below to show the most common consonants by frequency:

Most common consonants in 5-letter words

  • In order of frequency, the most common consonants in 5-letter words according to our research are:
    • “S”
    • “R”
    • “L”
    • “T”
    • “N”

Are there any words with no consonants?

  • A small number of rare words exist which do not have any consonants, including “Aa”, “Ae”, “Ai”, “Ea”, “Eau”, “Ee”, “Euouae”, “Io”, “Oe” and “Oo”.
  • However, the validity of these words can vary according to different sources.

Vowel frequency

How many vowels are in the alphabet?

  • In the English alphabet, there are 5 vowels.
  • The 5 vowels are “A”, ”E”, “I”, “O” and “U”.
  • However in addition to these, the letter “Y” will sometimes function as a vowel even though it is technically a consonant.

What is the most used vowel in the alphabet?

  • Our research shows that the letter “E” is the alphabet’s most commonly used vowel.
  • “E” is shown to have a frequency of 11.51% in all words analyzed.
  • The second-most common vowel is “I” (9.01%) and the third-most common is “A” (7.57%).

What is the least used vowel in the alphabet?

  • “U” is the least commonly used vowel in the alphabet.
  • From the words analyzed, it was shown to appear just 3.27% of the time.
VowelFrequencyRank
A7.57%#3
E11.51%#1
I9.01%#2
O6.59%#4
U3.27%#5

A graph is given below to show the most common vowels by frequency:

Most common vowels in 5-letter words

  • In order of frequency, the most common vowels in 5-letter words are “E” and “A”.
  • These two vowels are significantly more common in 5-letter words than the other vowels.

What is the 5-letter word with most vowels?

  • “Iouea” (at 5 letters in length) is the shortest word in the dictionary that contains only vowels.
  • A proper noun, it is an extremely rare word that refers to an extinct type of sponge.

Are there any words with all of the vowels?

  • There are a large number of words in the English language that include all of the vowels.
  • Examples of popular words including all of the vowels include “Authorize”, “Cautioned”, “Cauliflower”, “Education”, “Euphoria”, “Housemaid”, “Nefarious”, “Reputation”, “Speculation” and “Tenacious”.
  • A small number of rare words also exist that are made up entirely of vowels, with varying word lengths.

Are there any words with no vowels?

  • There are many words in the English language that contain no vowels.
  • Examples of popular words with only consonants include “Cry”, “Crypt”, “Dry”, “Fly”, “Myth”, “Rhythm”, “Sly”, “Spy”, “Try” and “Why”.

Letter combination frequency

Most common double letters

  • In language, a double letter is when the same letter is used twice in a row within a word.
  • As per our study, the most common double letters that appear* in the English language are as follows:
    • #1 – “SS” (present in 6.09% of words)
    • #2 – “LL” (present in 4.78% of words)
    • #3 – “EE” (present in 2.22% of words)
  • The double letters that never feature are “HH”, “JJ”, “QQ” and “XX”.

*recorded a maximum of one time per word.

Double letterFrequencyRank
AA0.04%#16
BB0.55%#14
CC0.56%#13
DD0.56%#12
EE2.22%#3
FF0.96%#10
GG0.72%#11
HH0.00%N/A
II0.03%#17
JJ0.00%N/A
KK0.03%#18
LL4.78%#2
MM1.04%#8
NN0.98%#9
OO2.18%#4
PP1.08%#7
QQ0.00%N/A
RR1.43%#6
SS6.09%#1
TT1.76%#5
UU0.02%#19
VV0.02%#20
WW0.02%#20
XX0.00%N/A
YY0.00%#22
ZZ0.20%#15

A graph is given below to show the most common double letters by frequency:

What is a bigram?

  • In language, a bigram is a pair of consecutive letters within a word.
  • From our database, the most common bigrams in the English language are as follows:
    • “ES” (frequency of 2.75%)
    • “IN” (frequency of 2.35%)
    • “ER” (frequency of 2.31%)
    • “TI” (frequency of 1.74%)
    • “TE” (frequency of 1.43%)
  • For 5-letter words only, the most common bigrams in the English language are:
    • “ES” (frequency of 1.79%)
    • “ER”(frequency of 1.64%)
    • “ED” (frequency of 1.36%)
    • “AR” (frequency of 1.27%)
    • “RE” (frequency of 1.22%)

What is a trigram?

  • In language, a trigram represents three consecutive letters within a word.
  • From our research, the most common trigrams for five letter words in the English language are as follows:
    • “RES” (frequency of 0.31%)
    • “ING” (frequency of 0.27%)
    • “ATE” (frequency of 0.26%)
    • “AVE” (frequency of 0.24%)
    • “INE” (frequency of 0.24%)

What words have 3 double letters?

  • There are a variety of words in the English language with 3 double letters.
  • This includes words such as “Addressee”, “Committee”, “Greenness”, “Successfully” and “Suddenness”.
  • Additionally, “Bookkeeper” and “Bookkeeping” are examples of words with 3 consecutive double letters.

Letter frequency in English FAQ

What letter never ends a word?

  • In the English language there is not a letter that does not end a word. 
  • However, the letters “J” and “V” are particularly uncommon endings to words. 
  • Typically, words that end with these letters are abbreviations, slang words or words inherited from other languages.

What is the only letter in the English language that is never silent?

  • In the English language, the letter “V” is never used silently. 
  • “V” is pronounced in the same way regardless of the word it is used in.
  • Every other letter can be used silently.

Can Q exist without U?

  • In the English language, the letter “Q” is frequently followed by the letter ”U”.
  • However, there are some exceptions, the majority of which are anglicized words that come from other languages.
  • The letter “Q” by itself is a sound not found in the English language.

What letters are no longer in the English language?

  • As the English language has constantly evolved over time, there are certain letters that have been completely removed from the alphabet. 
  • These include:
    • Eth (ð) – pronounced like the “th” sound used in “this” or “that”.
    • Thorn (þ) – pronounced like the “th” sound used in “thing” or “thought”.
    • Wynn (ƿ) – pronounced using today’s “w” sound.
    • Yogh (ȝ) – pronounced like the “ch” sound used in “loch” or “Bach”.
    • Ash (æ) – pronounced like the “a” sound used in “cat” in British English.
    • Ethel (œ) – pronounced like the “oi” sound used in “coil” or “boil”.
  • Generally, letters were removed from the alphabet in order to reduce the number of redundant letters and also to reduce the overall complexity of the language.