The rarest letter in English space J, Q, X, and Z.

In English, there space twenty-six letters. If you had actually to guess, i m sorry letter do you think gets offered the least? determining the price is not as straightforward as you can imagine. Stop look at the alphabet and then expose the rarest of every letters.

The Least frequent Letters

While occurring his well known code, Samuel Morse counted how many of every letter were included in sets of printer’s type. He uncovered the the smallest numbers the J, X, and also Z. In modern-day Morse code, J, Y, and also Q are least frequent. However, world using Morse code largely use the shortest and most typical English words. Which letters show up least if you consider a wider range the English vocabulary?

According come the English because that Students website, J, Q, and also Z occur the least if you analyze the frequency of each letter in the entries of the 11th Concise Oxford Dictionary. 2 sources, Herbert S. Zim’s Codes and secret Writing and also Robert Lewand’s Cryptological Mathematics, case that X, Q, and also Z room the letter you are least likely come encounter.

As you can tell, no everyone agrees on which letters space the rarest. It depends on how you are specifying rarity. If you want to recognize which letters space used least in everyday English, you can agree v Samuel Morse’s J, X, and Z. In dictionaries, J, Q, and Z are discovered the least, yet some of the indigenous are rarely used. And also if you value the opinion of cryptologists (people who study mystery codes and communication), X, Q, and Z make the fewest appearances in the composing scene.

Factors That affect Letter Frequency

What around this article? that is actually a good illustration of exactly how subject matter and author affect letter frequency. In this article, the letter Z occurs 16 times. Why? due to the fact that the topic is rare letter of the alphabet! one more article released on the Blog, What go Et Al. Mean?, includes only 1 Z—in words italicize. As you can guess, the letter that compose the abbreviation et al. Happen hundreds of time in the article.

Another aspect to consider is the nationality or writing format of the author. American and British authors spell specific words differently. Because that example, British authors spell color with a U: colour. They also add U to various other words wherein American writers perform not. ~ above the various other hand, Americans tend to donate spelling words favor analyze and also realize v a Z, whereas a brothers writer can lean towards spelling these exact same words through an S.

Other writers can purposely pick an archaic, alternative, or also erroneous spelling for words in a novel. They might want to portray a specific dialect, for instance, therefore they could intentionally readjust the assignment of part words. Because that example, in Outlander, Diana Gabaldon portrays the Scottish brogue by assignment cannot as canna and didn’t together dinna. This is a quote from the novel: “ and also to moan and also sob, even though you dinna wish to, because that ye canna assist it.” These voice spellings assist give the reader an idea of just how the character sounds.

Of the twenty-six letters, i m sorry is the least common? The answer depends on what text you consider, the author, and the topic matter.

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However, even with these components under consideration, X, Q, Z, and J it seems ~ to occur less than the other letters the the alphabet. If you guessed one of these four, congratulations are in order! What will certainly you carry out to celebrate?