Over the school holidays Mrs S was doing some research about grammar and vocabulary. She found a book called Blake’s English Guide for Primary Students. It contains alphabetically arranged entries on all sorts of topics about the English language. It also has some great little snippets of trivia tucked amongst the pages. When Mrs S was reading the page entry about alphabetical order she read this snippet:
The order of the alphabet from the most used letter to the least used letter would be: e a r i o t n s l c u d p m h g b f y w k v x z j q
She share this with our class and suggested that we could collect some data by counting letters and see if we got the same result. We decided to count the number of each letter used in three sentences from a book that we were reading. We found our books and started tallying. After we had totalled our tallies we each created a bar graph. Each bar graph showed the order to be slightly different.
The next step was to combine our data into one graph. We did this by entering our data into a Google doc form and we saw the collected data on a bar graph that the google doc spreadsheet created. Take a look at our combined results (click on the image to see it full size).
The letter ‘e’ was definitely the most used letter and this was followed by the letters – t, a, i, o, n, h, s, r, d, l, m, c, g, u, f, w, p, k, y, b, q, v, j, x, z. Our data was showing a different order to the one in the book.
We now hope that you will help us collect even more data to see if our graph changes and whether we can get the same result as the list in the book Mrs S shared. To help us out you will need to tally the number of each letter in three sentences from a book you are reading and add the data to our Google Doc form.
Follow the link to see the bar graph of our results.
Please leave a comment to tell us about some data you may have collected or make a suggestion about why our results may be different to those in the book.