The language most spoken by number of native speakers is Mandarin (with 955 million), Spanish (405 million) and English is in third place (360 million). English is the second on the list of languages spoken by first and second language speakers (Mandarin is the first again). I would still say it is more widespread.
Both Mandarin and Spanish are languages extensive in clustered spots. Spanish in Spain (of course), Latin America and the US, Chinese in China, Taiwan and Singapore while English is spread in all the Anglo-American areas of the world, spreading from America to Britain to Australia. We can’t forget to include all the countries where it features as a second language (here in Norway we learn it at school from a young age).
It is also a common language for tourists and is used as a way of exchanging information and making business deals between companies. From the six official UN languages (of which Mandarin and Spanish are also featured), English is the one most broadly used. It’s common for many different countries to also adopt words and expressions from modern English, many of which were adopted themselves from ancient Latin and Greek, into their own language.
The language has also carved a big spot for itself in the modern media. It was reported that 95% of all articles in magazines were written in English (1997). When it comes to literature, 28% of all volumes published in the world were in English as well as 30% of all web content (2011).
Many websites that are famous worldwide are English, though some can be visited in the visitor’s native language as well. Instagram, Tumblr and WordPress, for example, are completely English, however. I am a Tumblr user myself and the people I follow and that follow me are from many different countries in Europe and Latin-America and Asia, but post mainly in English (sometimes only in English). It’s a true testament to how we use the language as a gateway to communication.
This one was also written with Diba.