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#6. Brain teaser: can you count the Fs in this sentence?

Quick! Count the number of times that the letter F appears in the following sentence:

 

“Finished files are the result of years of scientific study combined with the experience of years.”

How many did you find?

 

SolutionMost people say three. Why? We often don’t correctly process the word “OF” for two reasons. First, the letter F usually makes the “f” sound, like in “fox”. However, in the word “of”, it makes a “v” sound. Second, you have probably read the word “of” so many times in your life that you process it as one unit, overlooking the second letter/ sound.

 

Next brain teaser in SharpBrains’ top 25 series:

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45 Responses

  1. Cynthia says:

    There are 6

  2. Shahzad says:

    ha, this test will fail on South Asians where ‘of’ is usually pronounced as ‘off’ and not ‘ov’

  3. Alvaro says:

    Hello Shahzad, you’re right. Feel free to propose other teasers you have seen may work better with South Asians!

  4. Liss says:

    I counted 7.

  5. KAREN says:

    I FOUND 7

  6. Sheri says:

    Take you time.. there are 6.

  7. me says:

    6 f’s

  8. miss says:

    i found 6 easily

  9. zeda says:

    i found six!

  10. Shenaye says:

    There are 9 f’s

  11. liam says:

    there are defin. 6 f’s in the sentence. it’s the f’s in the ‘of’ we humans find it hard to count.

  12. kylie dimock says:

    too many blonds are reading this

  13. terrell owens says:

    Hey its terrell owens and i counted 6

  14. Diana says:

    I’m blond & I counted 6. If you count the preceding sentence there are 9.

  15. Aaron says:

    Yeah I found 6 quite easily. How did you guys get 7, I’m curious?

  16. Sasa bacic says:

    There Are 6! Greetings from Great Serbia

  17. whitne says:

    I wonder if it’s also true that we tend to ignore little words without much meaning or emotional content.

  18. Alvaro says:

    There are 6.

    Whitne: good point. You can try this other exercise to see how we tend to ignore little objects without much meaning…

    Can you, from memory, draw a penny (or any other small coin) and all its elements? Try to do so…and then compare with a real one.

  19. Adrian says:

    I counted 1 (one).
    I reckon if we need to count the “following” sentence then the sentence to be counted is [How many did you find?] = 1

  20. Alvaro says:

    Hello Adrian, very good to think out of the box, but that would be the “following paragraph”, wouldn’t it?

    A very interesting cognitive skill is called “theory of mind”, in which one can ascertain the intentions of other person. Which “sentence” do you think we mean?

  21. Adrian says:

    Hi Alvaro, thanx for the reply. I’m a bit rough on grammar but I thought anything after the colon would be considered the ‘same’ sentence, not the ‘following’ sentence. Maybe I’m thinking too hard about this one. Cheers.

  22. Alvaro says:

    Helo Adrian-well, thinking hard is more than welcome in this blog 🙂

  23. dcghk says:

    There are 6 as it clearly states “..in the FOLLOWING sentence..”

  24. mariah says:

    i found four f’s. i promise you there are four f’s.

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