In various situations it is desired to count the number of words in a statement. For example, in dictation practice for learning to type.

So in a phrase such as "Let's go Brandon" how would the contraction be counted? Would this phrase be 2 or 3 words?

  • Don't know the rule. Word processors "Bean" and Libreoffice" showing the count as 3.
    – banuyayi
    Oct 10, 2022 at 17:49
  • 1
    What does this guy mean by tagging this thing "satire?" How can a word count be satirical?
    – BillOnne
    Oct 10, 2022 at 18:51
  • How could 'Let's go Brandon' ever be two words? Oct 10, 2022 at 20:22
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    I’m voting to close this question because I don't see an English Learning question here. There is no rule that would fit all situations. It would depend on what you want to measure. In many (most?) situations the word count is only a rough description of the length of a text. If any real decision depends on whether you count "Let's" as one or two words, then you are doing something wrong.
    – James K
    Oct 10, 2022 at 20:48
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    @RayButterworth The cited example is POTUS giving a word count in a speech. You people. You demand the cites but you never look at them.
    – BillOnne
    Oct 11, 2022 at 14:41

1 Answer 1


Each system would have to define its own rules. But contractions are "real words," and would probably count. Most automated processes, like word processing software, just count words by counting the strings of letters that are separated by spaces or by certain punctuation like dashes, so even nonsense words would "count."

Note, "Let's go Brandon" would probably be counted as three words; one might argue for four, but it's definitely not two.

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