Common Three Letter Words

Three letter words are the foundation of English; fundamentals like “and” and “the” make the language work. They occur in virtually every conversation. The following list of common three-letter words -- organized by part of speech -- are words that we use often. These words make up a big part of our language whether we are talking, texting, emailing or writing, enabling us to construct sentences and communicate effectively.

Large pile of Scrabble letter tiles Large pile of Scrabble letter tiles

Now that you have thought about this, do you play Scrabble? Think of the ways these common three letter words could help you earn points and possibly win the game. That three letter word could be the one word that makes you Scrabble champion.


Adjectives and Adverbs

Adjectives are descriptive words that explain or specify things about nouns. Adverbs are distinct from adjectives in that they modify verbs, adjectives or other adverbs, not nouns. However, many three letter words in English can function as both.

  • All: The entire amount, the full extent
  • Any: One of a group, no matter which; a randomly chosen individual
  • How: In what way, in a particular fashion, can be used in questions (e.g. "How are you today?”) or statements (e.g., “She knew how to fix the car.”)
  • Mad: Most commonly means angry or upset; also an out-of-date way of describing someone with a mental illness, and by extension anything strange or bizarre
  • New: The opposite of old, something fresh or unprecedented
  • Now: At the current time, immediately
  • Old: Something which has existed for a long time
  • Well: The adverbial form of good, meaning “done in a good way” or “happened in a positive fashion”


Articles are a special kind of word in English. There are only two in the whole language, and they are used to differentiate between a specific noun and a general one.

  • The: Article that refers to a definite noun (e.g., “the bank,” “the shop,” and “the house”)


Conjunctions are words that hold sentences together. Being some of the simplest English words, they often have simple, three-letter spellings.

  • And: The basic conjunction linking two words together (e.g., “The couple went out for dinner and a movie.” )
  • But: With the exception of (e.g., “Everyone but Joe enjoyed the party.”)
  • Nor: Not that and also not the following (e.g., “I like neither Peter nor Paul.”)
  • Yet: Although or in spite of (e.g., “The runner suffered cramps at the beginning yet managed to win her race.”)


Nouns are people, places, things or ideas.

  • Boy: A young male person
  • Can: A cylindrical container, usually made of thin metal
  • Car: A powered, four-wheeled passenger vehicle for driving on roads
  • Dad: Familiar form of address for a father
  • Day: A time period equal to one rotation of the Earth, or only the part of that period between sunrise and sunset
  • Dew: Condensed moisture, as in the water found on grass after a cool night
  • Gym: A room for athletics
  • Ink: Liquid used to write, most often found inside a pen
  • Jet: A stream of water
  • Key: Small metal tool used to open a door or start a car
  • Log: A large piece of wood, particularly a section cut from a tree
  • Man: Aan adult male
  • Mom: Familiar form of address for a mother
  • One: The first number; a single object, person, place or idea
  • Pal: A casual word for friend
  • Saw: A serrated blade with a handle, used as a tool to cut wood or other materials
  • Urn: A decorative container with a narrow neck and rounded body
  • Vet: Short for veterinarian, a doctor who treats animals
  • Way: A path or road; a method of doing something
  • Yap: A shrill bark
  • Zoo: An entertainment venue where people see interesting and unusual animals


Prepositions connect words or phrases to particular other words. Unlike conjunctions, prepositions describe the relationship between parts of a sentence.

  • For: Because, since, or to indicate purpose (e.g., “I brought a bouquet for your mother.)


Pronouns are words that replace nouns in a sentence. This avoids repetition of information the reader already knows.

  • Her: The possessive form of "she"
  • Him: A male human being
  • His: The possessive form of “he”
  • Our: The possessive form of the plural personal pronoun “we
  • She: The standard female nominative pronoun (e.g., “Maria owned a house. She also had two cars and a cat.”)
  • Who: What person? "Who" can be used in questions (e.g., “Who is your girlfriend?”) or statements (e.g., “His girlfriend, who is named Candy, visited last night.”)
  • You: The second person pronoun; the person to whom something is said or done (e.g., “I sent you a letter yesterday.”)


Verbs express an action or occurrence.

  • Act: To do something
  • Are: Present tense of the verb “to be” (e.g., They are English teachers.)
  • Bar: To shut out, to not let in
  • Eat: To consume food
  • Get: To come into possession of something
  • Has: Past tense of the verb to have; to own or possess
  • Let: To allow, to give permission to
  • Nap: To take a brief sleep, to doze
  • Out: To reveal something
  • Put: To place something in a spot of your choice
  • Ram: To hit or strike with force
  • Say: To speak words
  • See: To look or perceive with one's eyes
  • Tan: To turn golden brown from the sun
  • Use: To employ for a task (e.g., “You can use that pen to sign your name.”)
  • Was: Past tense of the verb “to be” (e.g., “He was working yesterday.”)
  • Wed: To get married

Three Letters FTW

FTW is shorthand for “For The Win,” one of many three letter abbreviations that also appear in English. Check out the rest at our list of common abbreviations in English. Three letter words are among the most basic, and therefore most important, components of the English language. Learning them is a vital step in mastering English.

Plus, knowing your three letter words can make you really good at Scrabble! We at YourDictionary also host the best Scrabble tool on the Internet. Scrabble and other word games are the most fun way to master the English language. Have a look at three letter words in Scrabble to get started.