I've tried to begin solving a cryptogram by making educated guesses from the context: position of punctuation, the presence of single-letter words, or assumptions about the frequency of the letter E, for a few examples. I often find 2-letter and 3-letter words in the puzzle and am looking for a more logical approach to such words than just blind guessing. Any ideas?
I would suggest compiling a list from this:
This is a list of the 1000 most common words in the English language.
I have no use for such a list and will, therefore, not make it for you... sorry but I'm selfish.
I would suggest that you note the following: of the first 100 most common words, 5 are two letter words that end in "o" (do to go so no). It may be worth focusing on that possibility first. "e" of course is the most common overall, so should be easier to find. "be" and "he" are somewhat common. Look for "xyz" and "yz" both appearing in longer cryptograms as that can commonly be "the" and "he" respectively. Once these are found, "she", "it", and "on" are easy. You will never see "ne" so that can help differentiate "one" from "the".
Finally, one of the first things to do is look for "xy" and "yx" as these will quickly help find on and no with a relatively high degree of certainty that can easily be checked. "ot" "eb" "eh" and "sa" are fairly uncommon!
Not a perfect solution, but there are only 101 official 2 letter words and 1015 3 letter words, so with one letter, or letter repetition, or even context it can be quite trivial to lower the possibilities to a small group.
Even in those 101 2-letter words and 1015 3-letter words, most of them are obscure or rarely used, so for most quotes you can eliminate all that just are too esoteric or abstruse for that quote.