Count backwards from 100 in twos.

Count backwards from 100 by twos.

I have seen both "in twos" or "by twos" are used in the same sense. I wonder which one is more idiomatic?

  • 1
    This Ngram indicates no preference for one over the other.
    – gotube
    Nov 17, 2022 at 19:53
  • 1
    This may be a regional difference. To me, from the Northeastern US, "count by" sounds much more natural.
    – stangdon
    Nov 17, 2022 at 21:27
  • 2
    I wish I could put this in one graph, but it's too long for a single Ngrams query. Basically, it looks like in is British usage, and by is American usage.
    – stangdon
    Nov 17, 2022 at 23:01

1 Answer 1


There may be regional differences, but both expressions are reasonable (for a fairly rare instruction out of a numeracy class)

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