– By Parts of Speech
Doctors Fry and Kress published a list of instant words which contains the most common English words. Due to their frequency, both doctors recommend recognizing them instantly. They published their list in order of frequency. This list has been further refined to categorize each word by parts of speech.
Some words were more difficult to categorize due to their usage. Many high frequency words have more than one meaning, which is one of the reasons why they are found so often in our language. The following are two great examples:
- The word “back” can be used as a noun, adverb, adjective or verb.
Noun: Please scratch my back.
Adverb: Give me my toy back.
Adjective: Close the back door.
Verb: The car backed out of the garage.
- The word “off” is an adverb, preposition and adjective.
Adverb: I jumped off the bed.
Preposition: Get the books off the table.
Adjective: The TV is off.
Fry’s Sight Words
Using professional judgment, we categorized Fry’s 300 instant words according to parts of speech, specifically conjunctions, contraction, prepositions, pronouns, adverbs, adjectives, verbs and nouns. To be consistent with Dolch’s, we categorized Fry’s words by referencing Dolch’s sight word list by part of speech, where applicable.
Sight Words: Conjunctions
Joins together words, phrases, clauses or sentences
Sight Words: Contractions
Shortens words by replacing one or more letters with an apostrophe
It’s is the contraction for “it is”, e.g. it’s a girl and “it has”, e.g. it’s been real. Don’t is the contraction for “do not”, e.g. don’t go outside.
Sight Words: Prepositions
Shows position or time and expresses connections and relationships
Sight Words: Pronouns
Takes the place of nouns, indicates ownership or helps ask questions
Sight Words: Adverbs
Modifies verbs, adjectives and another adverbs;
Shows extent, manner, place or time
Sight Words: Adjectives
Describes or modifies nouns, pronouns or adjectives
Sight Words: Verbs
Shows action, state of being or occurrence
Sight Words: Nouns
Names something – a person, place or thing
Dolch excluded nouns from his sight word list. However, he did create a separate list containing 95 nouns. Fry’s list is based on frequency regardless of word type.
Fry’s sight words are great references when developing a sight word vocabulary.
Source: Dolch, E.W., Ph.D. (1948). Problems in Reading. Champain, IL: The Garrard Press.
Fry, E.B., Ph.D. & Kress, J.E., Ed.D. (2006). The Reading Teacher’s Book of Lists 5th Edition. Sanfransico, CA: Jossey Bass.