Why I Moped About My Moped


Syllable counting is a hard problem. Some words are simple, but some words just don't behave like you would expect. "Abalone" is four syllables, but somehow "alone" by itself is just two. "Safe" is one syllable, but "cafe" is two. The list of inconsistencies is nearly endless.

And few things are harder to count than homographs - words which are spelled the same but that have different pronunciations. You can "bow" before your King, while placing your "bow" on the floor, for example. You can be "content" with your "content". You can "frequent" somewhere on a "frequent" basis.

With some of these words, however, the problem is even more acute. Some words will have an entirely different number of syllables depending on their meaning. The title of this blog post includes a great example: "Why I moped about my moped". The word "moped" appears twice, once with one syllable and once with two.

When working out how to accurately calculate the reading level of text, problems like this consume our waking lives. And if you were curious if there were any more - well, yes, there are. Here are the ones we've found so far - please let us know if you can think of any more!

  • agape
  • aged
  • blessed
  • coax
  • coop
  • crooked
  • cube
  • denier
  • dogged
  • ewe
  • file
  • fine
  • forte
  • hades
  • jagged
  • lame
  • learned
  • legged
  • lineage
  • mare
  • moped
  • pate
  • prayer
  • ragged
  • real
  • rose
  • sake
  • separate
  • tier

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Dave Child

Dave is the founder of Readable.io, and has been building websites since the early 90s. He's one of those fortunate people who gets to do what he loves for a living.



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