There is an ongoing debate about which letter starts the fewest words in the English language. Some say it’s A because of 1,000 and apple, some say it’s Z because of zebra and zero. The argument has been going on since at least 1886 with no clear answer to who has won. When you look closely at these cases you can see which case is more likely to be true.
The pro word starts most words with a consonant sound and the con word starts most words with a vowel sound. These are only two types of sounds but there are about 6 different sounds that could have started this debate, depending on where in England the word was said or written first.
There is one major problem that must be considered though. The words that are arguments can not be completely sure to say what word really starts with that letter. There are many more words in the English language than those given in the examples above and it is impossible to find the first person to speak or write a new word. That means every argument has a loop hole for the other side to slide through.
Because of this, it is impossible to say which letter starts the fewest words in the English language, but there is a way you can tell how likely each case will come true. Since there will never be an end to this debate you might as well try another way of finding out how likely one side really is….numbers.
If an argument started with a vowel sound then the con word is more likely to be true since there are a lot more words with vowel sounds in them and the pro word starts most words with a consonant sound. If an argument started with a consonant sound then the pro word will be more likely to be true since there are a lot more words that start with consonants and the con word starts most words with a vowel sound. Since that’s how we play this game of numbers I will use numbers for my results. I will use only the cases where both arguments were written or spoken in England so you can easily compare what I find to how you think each case fits your opinion.
As we go through the reasoning I will give you a special case that will show why the previous reasoning behind each case does not always hold up.
So let’s look at some of these cases and see which side has the numbers on their side. It does not matter if it is an argument that started with a consonant or vowel sound since we are only looking at the first letter of every word in both arguments, first and last. Let’s start with ZERO, more than any other number you will hear about this. A ZERO is even cooler because it starts with two zeros. That’s right a ZERO and a zerO, which is just one. So ZERO has the same number of letters as a word that starts with two consonants. In fact if you only counted the number of letters that make up the word and not how many words start with vowel sounds then ZERO would have more consonants than A, C, D, E, G, H, O and U put together. If you count how many words start with vowel sounds or consonant sounds then marks are even across the board.
So now let’s look at apple. Apple will be a good example to show why this all would not count. apple has 4 letters, which is the exact same number of letters as I. It is not the same number of words though and if I was only counting how many words start with vowel sounds then apple would not be true. In fact there are more than two words that start with vowels and more than two that start with consonants.
Just to make sure we are not missing anything let’s look at another great word, banana. Banana has 3 letters which is the same as B and the same as ELLO.