All Letters Are Not Created Equal

May 22nd, 2010 by

Yesterday I learned that in the English language, we supposedly use these letters the most, in this order:

often < e t a o i n s r h l d c u m f p g w y b v k x j q z > not often

Well, it makes sense to me that Z is at the end. But I definitely didn’t except N (Whoo! Go, Ns!) to make it in the Top 10.

Well, I spent my Friday night putting together a game based on this fascinating information. What? It’s not fascinating? Well, it is to me. Because I’m a nerd.

Here are the steps — my answers are in green.

  1. Pick a book title. Charlotte’s Web
  2. Count the number of letters in the title. Spaces and punctuation don’t count. 13
  3. Assign each letter points, based on the super-duper-official-patent-pending Nancy’s Arbitrary Game for Letters in Book Titles GameTM Guide:
    1 e t a o i
    2 n s r h
    3 l d c u
    4 m f p
    5 g w y
    6 b v
    7 k x
    8 j
    9 q
    10 z
  4. Divide the Total by the Number of Letters: 29/13=2.23

Arbitrary Game Letters in TitleTM Score for Charlotte’s Web : 2.23

Other Scores Calculated
Bridge to Terabithia: ~2.0555…
The Phantom Toolbooth: 2.0
Holes: 1.9

And to save anyone else the trouble, I also calculated The Tale of Despereaux: Being the Story of a Mouse, a Princess, Some Soup, and a Spool of Thread and got a measly 2.15… so, longer is not always better!

So far my first title is still winning. Maybe one day an author will title a book with the sole purpose of winning this game… (Authors: Just kidding. Do not do this.) Get out some scratch paper, and see if your favorite book title beats Charlotte’s Web!

— Nancy
Nancy makes games like this all the time, because as she’s mentioned above, she’s a big nerd. With way too much free time.
More about Nancy »

3 Responses

  • Hahaha me writes:
    May 22nd, 2010 at 12:08 pm

    Cool! I’m going to try!

  • Hahaha me writes:
    May 22nd, 2010 at 12:15 pm

    It reminds me of a random book search thing where you open to the ____ page and look to the ____ paragraph on the _____ sentence.

    But this sounds much more interesting.

  • Bat writes:
    May 25th, 2010 at 9:11 am

    The Divide Trilogy… 37/16, which is 2.3125. Barely larger. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (another example of how bigger isn’t always better): 59/28, or 2.107142857142857142857… with repeated 142857s.

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