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Communication Milestones Between 2 and 3 Years of Age

young boy sitting

In the third year, children start conversing. Below is a list of important language milestones during this period:

  • Understanding most instructions related to routines.
  • Putting words together to form 2-word sentences or longer.
  • Non-sentence sentences are common. Children experiment and play with language.
  • Having a short conversation about a topic that they're interested in.
  • Using language to talk for a wide variety of purposes (e.g., to get something, to ask questions, to play, to seek comfort, to share a past experience).
  • Speech clarity improves to the point that even unfamiliar adults can understand their speech.
  • Playing in imaginative and creative ways, including doing simple pretend play.


Speech, Language, & Hearing Milestones: 2 to 3 Years, video offered by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (

Red Flags

Seek the advice of your pediatrician or a speech-language pathologist if you observe the following with your child:

  • Using fewer than 50 different words
  • Not understanding what others are saying to him/her
  • Not sustaining interactions or having simple conversations
  • Not imitating social behaviors during play


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