I am wondering if there has been any research on the statistical frequency of the different parts of speech. I'm looking for something like "20% nouns, 13% verbs, 10% adjectives, 11% prepositions, 5% pronouns, 13% articles, 6% conjunctions, 14% interjections, 8% adverbs".

I am using the word statistical because this would clearly not apply exactly to every passage of text. However, this is just general.

  • 2
    This depends on a lot of things. What register, nationality, idiolect, gender, group, sociolect, subject, etc. Sep 15, 2020 at 20:52
  • 3
    In fact that's rather easy to do with a tagger and other software tools, and some texts. But people who make and use the tools tend to use much bigger and more complex sets of parts of speech than the basic 8 that we learned in "grammar school". Those were dreamed up by the Romans for describing Latin (which is why they didn't notice the difference between noun and adjective, and left out artlcle). Sep 15, 2020 at 21:06
  • @JohnLawler Thank you for providing this comment. Are there any specific, free taggers that you recommend?
    – Ron Snow
    Sep 16, 2020 at 16:16
  • I came across this by chance, while reading an article: "...function words are typically short connector words such as pronouns, prepositions, articles, conjunctions, negations, auxiliary verbs, and nonreferential adverbs (e.g., “so” and “really”). Although there are fewer than 200 commonly used function words in English, they account for 50 to 60% of all words that we say, write, hear, or read." This is the article advances.sciencemag.org/content/6/32/eaba2196; this is not a complete breakdown, but some details, at least.
    – Anya
    Sep 16, 2020 at 18:09

1 Answer 1


There are tables of frequency according to parts of speech in the Lancaster frequency lists:

Lancaster Frequency Lists Chapter 5

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.