A friend, Charles Frankel, found this list in an introductory book on codebreaking. I acquired it from him. He assured me he had extensively proofed it. Its use there is in pattern matching to get hints to the contents by matching code patterns to these words. Its use in a simple substitution code should be obvious. I had a chance to read his source book.
As that was in the late 1980s the following is from fallable memory. This is from something called the Brown Corpus, or Brown's Corpus, produced by Brown University in the early 1960s. It was to establish the most common American English words. All possible sources were used for words. I did not read the formal rules. Candidly I think the English Department wanted to play with that new-fangled computer the University just bought.
From reading the list all the letters are included so clearly they did not define a word by other than what appears between whitespace. Further words like youve are on the list so they got that from you've so contractions were words.
If you look further at the list you find kennedy is on it. That indicates Kennedy was still president or recently assassinated. So this list is not appropriate for today. There are other such words on the list.
In other words whatever use you may have for this list be certain to tailor it to your needs. Do not use it blindly.
As to the needs, when indexing a document automatically eliminating these words can save a lot of disk space. That is also why to review it carefully as even in the early 60s one would not wish to eliminate the word kennedy but only the rarest of documents would want to index the letter Z.
By this method apparently used even X-Files become xfiles but if your method converts it to x files you want to eliminate x and files in not on the list. But today, or depending upon the source, file and files are much more common words. There is a standard AWK teaching script that gives you control of how to do all that.
Off and on over the years I have used it to keep only the common words and look for patterns that might distinguish between authors. That was on the observation that can write about reparing a car and debugging a program and the uncommon words would be entirely different but the common word patterns might be extremely stable.
That is essentially worthless directly but were it to work there are many documents in history where authorship is unknown or in question. If a data base of common words from the times in question could be compiled then perhaps this method could be applied. FWIW, I have had modest success sprinkled with grossly erratic results and I would like to have this list in freqency order to test it that way. I would also like to find a list of the second thousand most common words. In any event, there is no paper in the foreseeable future.
Another use I have considered is determining the authorship of source code using the reserved words as the common words. That would note preferences for different types of loops and such. But that relies upon access to large sections of source code. With GNU that is possible but large segments of source code are from multiple authors and contributors. So I do not have access to material even to test it much less verify it. Anyone with the test materials, feel free.
I presume everyone knows how to cut and paste so Without further ado, the list. [A drumroll please]
To show the problem with common words there is an extraordinary number of hits on this file from the search engines. I presume many of them are on now uncommon words such as KENNEDY related common words. That means you must intelligently edit it before using.
A ABLE ABOUT ABOVE ACCORDING ACCOUNT ACROSS ACT ACTION ACTIVITIES ACTIVITY ACTUALLY ADDED ADDITION ADDITIONAL ADMINISTRATION AFTER AGAIN AGAINST AGE AGO AHEAD AID AIR ALL ALMOST ALONE ALONG ALREADY ALSO ALTHOUGH ALWAYS AM AMERICA AMERICAN AMONG AMOUNT AN ANALYSIS AND ANOTHER ANSWER ANTI ANY ANYONE ANYTHING APPARENTLY APPEAR APPEARED APPROACH ARE AREA AREAS ARMS ARMY AROUND ART AS ASK ASKED ASSOCIATION AT ATTACK ATTENTION AUDIENCE AVAILABLE AVERAGE AWAY B BACK BAD BALL BASED BASIC BASIS BE BEAUTIFUL BECAME BECAUSE BECOME BED BEEN BEFORE BEGAN BEGINNING BEHIND BEING BELIEVE BELOW BEST BETTER BETWEEN BEYOND BIG BILL BLACK BLOOD BLUE BOARD BODY BOOK BORN BOTH BOY BOYS BRING BRITISH BROUGHT BROWN BUILDING BUILT BUSINESS BUT BY C CALL CALLED CAME CAN CANNOT CANT CAR CARE CARRIED CARS CASE CASES CAUSE CENT CENTER CENTRAL CENTURY CERTAIN CERTAINLY CHANCE CHANGE CHANGES CHARACTER CHARGE CHIEF CHILD CHILDREN CHOICE CHRISTIAN CHURCH CITY CLASS CLEAR CLEARLY CLOSE CLOSED CLUB CO COLD COLLEGE COLOR COME COMES COMING COMMITTEE COMMON COMMUNIST COMMUNITY COMPANY COMPLETE COMPLETELY CONCERNED CONDITIONS CONGRESS CONSIDER CONSIDERED CONTINUED CONTROL CORNER CORPS COST COSTS COULD COULDNT COUNTRIES COUNTRY COUNTY COUPLE COURSE COURT COVERED CUT D DAILY DARK DATA DAY DAYS DE DEAD DEAL DEATH DECIDED DECISION DEEP DEFENSE DEGREE DEMOCRATIC DEPARTMENT DESCRIBED DESIGN DESIGNED DETERMINED DEVELOPED DEVELOPMENT DID DIDNT DIFFERENCE DIFFERENT DIFFICULT DIRECT DIRECTION DIRECTLY DISTANCE DISTRICT DO DOES DOING DONE DONT DOOR DOUBT DOWN DR DRIVE DUE DURING E EACH EARLIER EARLY EARTH EAST EASY ECONOMIC EDUCATION EFFECT EFFECTIVE EFFECTS EFFORT EFFORTS EIGHT EITHER ELEMENTS ELSE END ENGLAND ENGLISH ENOUGH ENTIRE EQUIPMENT ESPECIALLY ESTABLISHED EUROPE EVEN EVENING EVER EVERY EVERYTHING EVIDENCE EXAMPLE EXCEPT EXISTENCE EXPECT EXPECTED EXPERIENCE EXTENT EYE EYES F FACE FACT FAITH FALL FAMILY FAR FARM FATHER FEAR FEDERAL FEED FEEL FEELING FEET FELT FEW FIELD FIGURE FIGURES FILLED FINAL FINALLY FIND FINE FIRE FIRM FIRST FISCAL FIVE FLOOR FOLLOWED FOLLOWING FOOD FOOT FOR FORCE FORCES FOREIGN FORM FORMER FORMS FORWARD FOUND FOUR FREE FREEDOM FRENCH FRIEND FRIENDS FROM FRONT FULL FUNCTION FURTHER FUTURE G GAME GAVE GENERAL GENERALLY GEORGE GET GETTING GIRL GIRLS GIVE GIVEN GIVES GLASS GO GOD GOING GONE GOOD GOT GOVERNMENT GREAT GREATER GREEN GROUND GROUP GROUPS GROWING GROWTH GUN H HAD HAIR HALF HALL HAND HANDS HAPPENED HARD HAS HAVE HAVING HE HEAD HEAR HEARD HEART HEAVY HELD HELL HELP HER HERE HERSELF HES HIGH HIGHER HIM HIMSELF HIS HISTORY HIT HOLD HOME HOPE HORSE HOSPITAL HOT HOTEL HOUR HOURS HOUSE HOW HOWEVER HUMAN HUNDRED HUSBAND I IDEA IDEAS IF ILL IM IMAGE IMMEDIATELY IMPORTANT IN INCLUDE INCLUDING INCOME INCREASE INCREASED INDEED INDIVIDUAL INDUSTRIAL INDUSTRY INFLUENCE INFORMATION INSIDE INSTEAD INTEREST INTERNATIONAL INTO INVOLVED IS ISLAND ISSUE IT ITS ITSELF IVE J JOB JOHN JUST JUSTICE KEEP KENNEDY KEPT KIND KNEW KNOW KNOWLEDGE KNOWN L LABOR LACK LAND LANGUAGE LARGE LARGER LAST LATE LATER LATTER LAW LAY LEAD LEADERS LEARNED LEAST LEAVE LED LEFT LENGTH LESS LET LETTER LETTERS LEVEL LIFE LIGHT LIKE LIKELY LINE LINES LIST LITERATURE LITTLE LIVE LIVED LIVING LOCAL LONG LONGER LOOK LOOKED LOOKING LOST LOT LOVE LOW LOWER M MADE MAIN MAJOR MAKE MAKES MAKING MAN MANNER MANS MANY MARCH MARKET MARRIED MASS MATERIAL MATTER MAY MAYBE ME MEAN MEANING MEANS MEDICAL MEET MEETING MEMBER MEMBERS MEN MERELY MET METHOD METHODS MIDDLE MIGHT MILES MILITARY MILLION MIND MINUTES MISS MODERN MOMENT MONEY MONTH MONTHS MORAL MORE MORNING MOST MOTHER MOVE MOVED MOVEMENT MOVING MR MRS MUCH MUSIC MUST MY MYSELF N NAME NATION NATIONAL NATIONS NATURAL NATURE NEAR NEARLY NECESSARY NEED NEEDED NEEDS NEGRO NEITHER NEVER NEW NEXT NIGHT NO NON NOR NORMAL NORTH NOT NOTE NOTHING NOW NUCLEAR NUMBER NUMBERS OBTAINED OBVIOUSLY OF OFF OFFICE OFTEN OH OLD ON ONCE ONE ONES ONLY OPEN OPENED OPERATION OPPORTUNITY OR ORDER ORGANIZATION OTHER OTHERS OUR OUT OUTSIDE OVER OWN P PAID PAPER PART 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