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Most Common English Nouns

Name the 100 most common nouns in modern American English. The list is adapted from the Corpus of Contemporary American English from Brigham Young University.
Quiz by kalbahamut
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First submittedMarch 10, 2013
Last updatedNovember 14, 2018
Times taken29,212
Rating3.71
6:00
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Noun
time
year
people
way
day
man
thing
woman
life
child
world
school
state
Noun
family
student
group
country
problem
hand
part
place
case
week
company
system
program
Noun
question
work
government
number
night
point
home
water
room
mother
area
money
story
Noun
fact
month
lot
right
study
book
eye
job
word
business
issue
side
kind
Noun
head
house
service
friend
father
power
hour
game
line
end
member
law
car
Noun
city
community
name
president
team
minute
idea
kid
body
information
back
parent
face
Noun
others
level
office
door
health
person
art
war
history
party
result
change
morning
Noun
reason
research
girl
guy
moment
air
teacher
force
education
+2
level 76
Mar 10, 2013
I'm guessing they don't count gerunds (verbs actings as nouns) as nouns. There are some other weird omissions, too.
+2
level 70
Mar 16, 2013
I don't understand how "common" is defined. Education is in, but boy is out???
+2
level 76
Mar 16, 2013
I was also puzzled by such omissions/inclusions, but if you want to know more about how the list was determined you can go here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corpus_of_Contemporary_American_English Though the corpus includes 160,000 texts and 450 million words from a variety of sources, you could argue that some words are overrepresented due to the proportion of texts. For example, only 85 million words in the corpus are transcripts of spoken English from radio programs or television shows. That's only about 19% of the total. At the same time, another 81 million words were taken from academic journals, roughly the same percentage. I believe that's likely why there is an over representation of certain words like "education" compared to what we might guess, given that most of our guesses are probably based on spoken English and not words we'd find in academic journals.
+2
level 76
Mar 16, 2013
meanwhile none of the words are taken from regular chit-chat, water cooler talk, locker room banter, facebook chats and so on...
+1
level 48
Apr 17, 2013
Ah that explains 'research', was baffled when I saw that come up.
+1
level 62
Feb 1, 2015
I concluded they got the list by watching the news.
+1
level 76
Mar 16, 2013
You can find the Corpus itself here: http://corpus.byu.edu/coca/
+1
level 51
Apr 17, 2013
I really don't think 'healthy' can be defined as a noun...
+1
level 18
Apr 17, 2013
Yeah, that should get fixed..
+1
level 76
Apr 18, 2013
whoops! Thanks for catching the mistake. :) It should be "health," not healthy. I'll fix it.
+2
level 39
Apr 17, 2013
Wow, that was amazingly challenging. I'm surprised things like brother and sister, dog and cat didn't make the list but education, government did.
+1
level 58
May 16, 2013
Me neither. This one has some decidedly odd results!
+2
level 68
Jan 22, 2015
That's because the sample of the research is skewed. They analyze what's writen in the newspapers, but not what's said at home. Obviously, "brother" and "sister" are much more commonly used in English than "education" and "government". They are just lest used in the very specific texts they have bothered to study.
+1
level 76
Jan 22, 2015
Depends on what you mean by "used in English."
+1
level 37
Jan 15, 2018
In spanish government is one of the 100 most used ones
+1
level 53
Apr 17, 2013
its funny how war is on here but not peace
+1
level 28
Mar 13, 2018
XD
+1
level 20
Apr 18, 2013
Sad how the word "common" is not in the top 100 common words.
+1
level 76
Nov 17, 2013
Common is usually used as an adjective. This quiz is about common nouns. Though, "noun" is a noun, and it's also not on this list.
+1
level 40
May 7, 2013
Interesting quiz. Palmfaced when I saw the full list, so many obvious words. FYI - You've got the word "other" and the word "others" in the quiz. Since there aren't any other plurals that I noticed, I'm assuming it's unintentional. Huzzah.
+1
level 76
May 7, 2013
It's not unintentional I was just copying from the list they came up with. I noticed the same thing myself and I'm not sure why there is a discrepancy there.
+1
level 76
May 7, 2013
There is also person and people.
+1
level 52
Feb 25, 2017
You could argue for that one that person and people are two different words, because the plural of person can also be persons
+2
level 76
Jun 18, 2013
It's an honor to be featured on the front page. I deleted some previous comments of mine because I figured out how to make hypertext links. If you enjoyed this quiz and want to take some similar quizzes I made these:
Common English Verbs
Common English Adjectives

If you're still looking for more quizzes after that, here are a few more of my personal favorites that don't get as much traffic as some others:
Smartest Countries
Censorship Around the World
Oldest Cities by Country

Enjoy
+1
level 12
Jul 3, 2013
Such an interesting quiz! Really love these quizzes!
+3
level 57
Jul 27, 2013
If pronouns are not on the list, can you please add that to the instructions? Thanks.
+2
level 76
Nov 17, 2013
After tying "I," "you," "me," "he," "it"... you didn't figure it out? You'd have only wasted 10 letters by that point.
+1
level 70
Dec 28, 2013
A very curious list! There’s an end with no beginning or start, there’s a question with no answer, life without death, a girl with no boy, a friend with no enemy, war without peace, right with no wrong (or left), a back but no front, etc. Just sayin. I wonder how the people that made the list defined "common".
+1
level 76
Dec 28, 2013
it's based on how often the words appeared in the corpus. The corpus is a collection of many different texts of various origin, mostly written English but some transcripts of spoken English as well.
+1
level 44
Aug 2, 2014
we use "girl" to refer to women up until their 20s and 30s. we stop using "boy" at about 15, and transition to "guy."
+1
level 70
Dec 28, 2013
http://corpus.byu.edu/coca/x.asp?r1=&w=1242&h=698 Good point. My bad on the numbers not matching. There were actually 18 words on their list not included on yours, and 20 on yours that weren't on the COCA site. So I guess I counted wrong and came up with 16 instead of 18. Then also they had a "$" and "Mr." for two of their "words". Forgot to count those two as part of their 20. So 16 plus the two I missed plus their two non-words makes 20. Not sure what you did but the site says it was last updated in the summer of 2012 and your quiz looks like it was created in April 2013. Didn't really mean to come across as upset. Not that big of a deal though really. I'm just going to delete the other comment. Happy trails.
+1
level 76
Dec 29, 2013
It's okay I appreciate the feedback. I was going off of an article based on the corpus which I believe was published shortly before the last update, so if you're right then it maybe have been out of date by a year. I just couldn't figure out how to generate a useful list using the corpus website itself... I could only get sample lists that gave every 10th or 100th word..
+1
level 70
Mar 30, 2014
This is tough quiz. I usually get in the twentys somewhere on this one, and my best is 28. With 100 answers I'd vote for more time.
+1
level 76
Mar 30, 2014
I agree it's tough. Average score is 15/100, while average on the Most Common Words quiz is 40/100. Both have the same time limit. My biggest concern with adding more time is that people would simply get bored after six minutes. I think it's probably okay as is and you can always turn off the timer if you want to spend more time guessing. Personally I think there is enough room on the site for some quizzes that are very easy and others that are very hard.
+1
level 76
Mar 30, 2014
I *am* agreeable to the idea of updating this, though, if you will share how you are generating lists of top 100 results. I've tried doing this at the corpus website and for whatever reason I can only figure out how to get lists that display every 10th result, which would make updating very tedious. If I could get a newer or more accurate list of the top 100 now I would use it. Thanks again for the feedback.
+1
level 76
Mar 30, 2014
btw my own high score on this is 44.
+2
level 44
Aug 2, 2014
There is no "god." ;)
+1
level 66
Sep 16, 2014
I know, right! :D I actually was surprised by that not being on the list. Also, no dog or cat either.
+1
level 32
Sep 13, 2014
Interesting and instructive quiz. Thanks!
+1
level 66
Sep 16, 2014
Got 19 and it equals or betters 67%. Tough quiz. :D
+1
level 22
Sep 24, 2014
Got 100% with 4 min 17 seconds left.
+1
level 68
Oct 14, 2014
Calling BS on this list, considering some of the things that aren't on it.
+2
level 76
Oct 15, 2014
We require all formal charges of shenanigans be attested, notarized, and submitted in writing and in triplicate via first class mail.
+1
level 43
Nov 15, 2014
Played this a while ago and had about 30 right answers. Played it again now and had about the same number, but an almost completely different list of right answers :) Guess it shows the mood I'm in when I play this... Great quiz!
+1
level 21
Jan 19, 2015
I'm glad the average score isn't high, or else I would be in trouble. Right now it's only 16, but somehow I managed to get 20. I guess we say girl more often than we say boy. Can't believe I missed car, but got others, education, health, and government, which are all under 10%, while car is over 70%. It's kind of sad. I would have never guessed service though.
+2
level 61
Jan 13, 2016
Who else starting looking around the room for objects after running out of ideas?
+1
level 35
Mar 12, 2016
I think "taco" should be on here...
+1
level 57
Mar 25, 2016
This makes me contemplate life..................
+1
level 62
Apr 11, 2016
I was thrown by the seeming omission of plurals with the exception of "people".
+1
level 48
Apr 26, 2016
Wow! Surprising answers...made for a neat quiz. I ashamed I couldn't even get half of them...then again, I'm shocked something like 'half' wasn't one of the answers!
+1
level 57
Jun 6, 2016
This is fun and surprisingly hard, especially when you are not a native English speaker. I can never get more than a couple dozens.
+1
level 47
Jun 18, 2016
Why is war included but not peace or love?
+2
level 24
Aug 15, 2016
I've never said force in a sentence before until now.
+1
level 58
Jan 8, 2017
I thought of "time" with 1 second left, didn't have time to type it in.
+1
level 61
Apr 11, 2017
Hmmmmm...I wonder why ¨book¨ was the top-guessed answer....
+1
level 79
May 11, 2018
Honestly, when I'm in a situation where I need to think of a word, any word, "book" is usually one of the first to come to mind. Maybe because it's usually one of the first words you learn when studying a foreign language, so now I just think of it as the default word lol.
+2
level 76
Jun 28, 2017
I tried cake, bed, pizza, television, sandwich, phone and shit but none worked. Please fix.
+1
level 53
Jan 13, 2019
Nobody says television in 2019, and TV isn't that popular either. Agree with bed, pizza, and shit though.
+1
level 47
Jul 27, 2018
No food, light, fire, sun, meal, bread, tea? but education, problem, president, research etc.in the list? How is those latter word more common?
+1
level 76
Jul 27, 2018
Because the corpus uses more academic texts than restaurant menus.
+1
level 60
Jan 9, 2019
hard to imagine that the word "issue" is used more than some that didnt make the list, like baby, brother, sister, girlfriend boyfriend, television, phone, drink(s), BEER!
+1
level 76
Jan 10, 2019
Probably a larger percentage of the corpus comes from magazine articles than transcripts of conversations overheard at the bar.
+1
level 70
Mar 17, 2019
A very narrow definition of most common does not yield the most common. Everyone who speaks English drops the word food several times a day.
+1
level 76
Mar 17, 2019
The source is listed. It doesn't include daily spoken English. Don't be so lazy look at the source.
+1
level 68
Apr 12, 2019
Really interesting quiz. I bet on "thing" being number one, given that it can stand in for most, y'know, things.
+1
level 42
May 2, 2019
The word study can be used as a noun in some cases, but study is a verb!
+1
level 76
May 2, 2019
You just said that it can be used as a noun. Such as a room with books and a desk. Or, given that much of the corpus is made up of academic texts, I assume there are many cases where it's used like: "the study concluded that Margles' inference is unfounded."
+1
level 34
Jun 3, 2019
I'm really suprised 'Otorhinolaryngologist' isn't included. I'm sure it ranks as close to commonality as "research".