The Four Trick

Pick a number.
I’ll start.
I pick seven.
S-E-V-E-N
That’s five letters
Okay, five
F-I-V-E
That’s four letters
Four
F-O-U-R
four letters.

Let’s try a bigger number
100
O-N-E-H-U-N-D-R-E-D
ten letters
10
T-E-N
three letters
T-H-R-E-E
five letters
F-I-V-E
four letters
F-O-U-R
four letters

How about 1010?
O-N-E-T-H-O-U-S-A-N-D-T-E-N
fourteen letters
F-O-U-R-T-E-E-N
eight letters
E-I-G-H-T
five letters
Y’all know what’s comin’ next.
F-I-V-E
four letters
four
four letters

I have played with this for years, actually ever since I was in the fourth grade. I didn’t discover it. I read about it in a book for kids about math. I’ve never been able to come up with a number that doesn’t take you to four.

I’ve also never been able to figure out how the trick works. What makes it especially challenging is that it combines math and language so a solution must reflect both the number system and the English system of naming numbers.

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  1. #1 by debrayudhistira on July 12, 2010 - 8:32 pm

    wow…
    hmm, nice..:)

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