26 letters in the alphabet

1,025,905 words in the English language

80,000 words in a typical novel

Countless number of possibilities those letters and words can be joined to make a unique story.

book journey

Not enough hours, days or years to read each and every one, but

I’m gonna try



18 responses to “Books”

  1. Kristina Weatherford Avatar
    Kristina Weatherford

    You and me both! 🙂

    1. I know you are a big time reader, Kristina. It’s fun to have you along on the journey! 🙂


    How many words are there in the English language?

    There is no single sensible answer to this question. It’s impossible to count the number of words in a language, because it’s so hard to decide what actually counts as a word. Is dog one word, or two (a noun meaning ‘a kind of animal’, and a verb meaning ‘to follow persistently’)? If we count it as two, then do we count inflections separately too (e.g. dogs = plural noun, dogs = present tense of the verb). Is dog-tired a word, or just two other words joined together? Is hot dog really two words, since it might also be written as hot-dog or even hotdog?

    It’s also difficult to decide what counts as ‘English’. What about medical and scientific terms? Latin words used in law, French words used in cooking, German words used in academic writing, Japanese words used in martial arts? Do you count Scots dialect? Teenage slang? Abbreviations?

    The Second Edition of the 20-volume Oxford English Dictionary contains full entries for 171,476 words in current use, and 47,156 obsolete words. To this may be added around 9,500 derivative words included as subentries. Over half of these words are nouns, about a quarter adjectives, and about a seventh verbs; the rest is made up of exclamations, conjunctions, prepositions, suffixes, etc. And these figures don’t take account of entries with senses for different word classes (such as noun and adjective).

    This suggests that there are, at the very least, a quarter of a million distinct English words, excluding inflections, and words from technical and regional vocabulary not covered by the OED, or words not yet added to the published dictionary, of which perhaps 20 per cent are no longer in current use. If distinct senses were counted, the total would probably approach three quarters of a million.

    1. Alexander, you win the prize! The number was a gross estimation from another source and is purely rhetorical for the sake of enjoying a fun read. However, I do appreciate your well-thought and researched response. Rock on, you crazy engineer! 🙂

      1. Your source maybe …

        Number of Words in the English Language: 1,025,109.8
        The number of words in the English language is: 1,025,109.8. This is the estimate by the Global Language Monitor on January 1, 2014.

        The English Language passed the Million Word threshold on June 10, 2009 at 10:22 a.m. (GMT). The Millionth Word was the controversial ‘Web 2.0′. Currently there is a new word created every 98 minutes or about 14.7 words per day.

        I am not sure where the 0.8 of a word comes from … surely a word is a word or not a word?

        Real challenge to write a book using all the words without repetition! A real figures engineer of a task. Best wishes Alexander

      2. 0.8 words are those that get cut short. Ex: losin’, makin’, … LOL! 😀
        Yes…a book using all words and no repetition…that would be quite the challenge! Impossible…unless ‘a’, ‘the’, ‘and’, etc are given a free pass.

      3. Good link! …and one of my favorite sites. Thx.

  3. Visiting on day 3 of the #atozchallenge with all my fellow writers. I appreciate all the hard work it takes to participate. I hope you make many new blogging friends. I like your writing world. I’ll be back.

    1. Thanks Stepheny! I sure hope you do return. I will be dropping by your place very soon…

  4. I love books. I like this post. I’ve never read how many are in each. Thanks!

    1. Thanks. I’ve kept a book journal for at least 10 years now. I can only guess at the number of books and a fraction of the titles of each read before I began journaling.

  5. So many books, so little time. 🙂

      1. I’ll 2nd (or is it 3rd that)?

        LuAnn Braley
        AJ’s Hooligans @AtoZChallenge
        Back Porchervations

  6. Certainly there are more words in the English language than any other, mainly because we have absorbed words from other cultures, German, Latin, Indian, French, Anglo-saxon, we have word from them all. That is why we have so many synonyms. There are only about 10,000 words in the French language, in comparison the figures above. English rocks! Think how much easier it is for us to express ourselves by fine degree…great post! ~Liz

    1. So true, there are so many absorbed words and variations of words, it makes writing fun…especially when we get to make up words and our readers embrace them!

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