Well, according to a website called Wordcount it’s the word “the.” How about #2? “Of” holds that spot. Wordcount is website created by I believe Jonathan Harris and tells us in his database of 86,800 words which words rank the highest in the world in the English language.
According to the website: “WordCount™ is an artistic experiment in the way we use language. It presents the 86,800 most frequently used English words, ranked in order of commonness. Each word is scaled to reflect its frequency relative to the words that precede and follow it, giving a visual barometer of relevance. The larger the word, the more we use it. The smaller the word, the more uncommon it is.”
He continues to explain the way the site was built: “WordCount data currently comes from the British National Corpus®, a 100 million word collection of samples of written and spoken language from a wide range of sources, designed to represent an accurate cross-section of current English usage. WordCount includes all words that occur at least twice in the BNC®. In the future, WordCount will be modified to track word usage within any desired text, website, and eventually the entire Internet.”
Anyway, I find it useful for my English classes. The one caveat for me though is that I teach standard “American English” and so there may be differences between the U.S.’s version of English and the British.