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-   -   What's the shortest sentence that uses all letters? (https://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=326537)

Nature's Call 07-21-2005 11:32 AM

What's the shortest sentence that uses all letters?
 
Our typing teacher introduced us to "The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog" because it is a sentence that has all the letters of the alphabet. Useful, that, in a typing class.

But what inefficiency! Redundant D, H, R, T. Coupla Us. Four Es! Four Os!

C'mon, we can do better, can't we?

pulykamell 07-21-2005 11:34 AM

Mr. Jock, T.V. Quiz Ph.D., bags few lynx (26)

Chefguy 07-21-2005 11:35 AM

'Mr Jock, TV quiz PhD, bags few lynx.' Uses all letters once.

pulykamell 07-21-2005 11:35 AM

One more...Arguably, the best sentence without resorting to weird syntax and abbreviations is the following, two letters shorter than "quick brown fox":

The five boxing wizards jump quickly.

Chefguy 07-21-2005 11:36 AM

D'oh!

Mangetout 07-21-2005 11:37 AM

Best I can do is 27:

"I said 'bcefghjklmnopqrtuvwxyz'"

Biffy the Elephant Shrew 07-21-2005 11:37 AM

Cecil's column on W as a vowel contains a couple of pangrams--sentences with each letter used only once.

Mangetout 07-21-2005 11:39 AM

Oh, that was pretty silly of me; here's 26:

"he said 'bcfgjklmnopqrtuvwxyz'"

Annie-Xmas 07-21-2005 11:57 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by pulykamell
Mr. Jock, T.V. Quiz Ph.D., bags few lynx (26)

This is the only panagram I've ever seen that doesn't need an explaination to make sense.

Nature's Call 07-21-2005 12:00 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Annie-Xmas
This is the only panagram I've ever seen that doesn't need an explaination to make sense.

I'm with Annie. I mean, cwm on - those pangrams (new word for me) in Cecil's article are so tortured Amnesty International has gotten involved.

I like the jumping wizards improvements too.

Lemur866 07-21-2005 12:03 PM

Jackdaws love my big sphynx of quartz.

Damn, 31 letters.

Perderabo 07-21-2005 12:06 PM

TV quiz drag nymphs blew JFK cox. :D

Exapno Mapcase 07-21-2005 12:18 PM

Many, many pangram sites on the Internet.

Peter Morris 07-21-2005 12:21 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Nature's Call
Our typing teacher introduced us to "The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog" because it is a sentence that has all the letters of the alphabet. Useful, that, in a typing class.

But what inefficiency! Redundant D, H, R, T. Coupla Us. Four Es! Four Os!

C'mon, we can do better, can't we?

Sure, for a start your sentence lacks the letter s
Secondly, two thes are redundant.

A quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog. There, that's better.


but for a shorter sentence try :
Waltz, bud nymph, for quick jigs vex [28]

Kimstu 07-21-2005 12:27 PM

The way I heard it is

Waltz, nymph, for quick jigs vex Bud.

One extra "i" and one extra "u", but not bad.

yanceylebeef 07-21-2005 01:03 PM

Nitpick:
[QUOTE=Nature's Call]Our typing teacher introduced us to "The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog" because it is a sentence that has all the letters of the alphabet. Useful, that, in a typing class.

Where is the "S"?

I had always typed it as "The quick sly fox jumped over the lazy brown dog."


Nit Picked.

wolf_meister 07-21-2005 01:25 PM

[nitpick answer]
It should be :
The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.
[/nitpick answer]

wolf_meister 07-21-2005 01:40 PM

Here's my entry:
Quiz jinxed forgivable whacky tramps.
32 letters - but only 5 words.

Granted, it is not the smoothest construction and it almost reads like a headline.
However, it does not have to resort to using the Medieval Magyar-Croation slang word for soup ladle. :D

I'm wondering if a 4 word sentence could be constructedthe if the word "unforgivable" is used?

Yes, the word "uncopyrightable" uses half the alphabet, but its use in a short sentence would seem extremely contrived. ("Uncopyrightable vixens" - that sort of thing.) Then again, "Unforgivable vixens" shows promise. Hmmmmm ....

Nature's Call 07-21-2005 01:48 PM

It's a refreshing feeling, to be free of nits - having this one freshly picked :smack:

Thanks wolf_meister, yanceylebeef, and Peter Morris!

I love this board!

CalMeacham 07-21-2005 01:51 PM

I remember a couple from Ripley's Believe it or Not. The first cheats with initials, but it's only 26 letters:

D.V. Pike Flung J.Q. Scwartz my Box


The next doesn't cheat, but is comprehensible:


Jackdaws Love my Big Sphinx of Quartz


all the 26-letter "non-cheating" ones I've heard of are incomprehensible, using very weird words.

Corii 07-21-2005 02:12 PM

In the book Ella Minnow Pea the one they came up with was, IIRC, "Pack my box with five dozen liquor jugs".

Ethilrist 07-21-2005 02:15 PM

All this time I thought foxes were red...

CalMeacham 07-21-2005 02:15 PM

Quote:

In the book Ella Minnow Pea the one they came up with was, IIRC, "Pack my box with five dozen liquor jugs".
That one was in Ripley's, too.

CookingWithGas 07-21-2005 02:19 PM

There's gotta be a way to do this with Mxyzptlk if proper names are allowed.

Gary Robson 07-21-2005 05:09 PM

The book Ella Minnow Pea, which Corii already mentioned, is a lot of fun. If you like this kind of word game, give it a read. It's in the form of letters being written from a country where letters are being banned one-by-one as various tiles fall off of a statue. The premise is silly, but the book is a kick, and the author is extremely talented--just try writing a chapter of a book in English using only half the letters in the alphabet!

tracer 07-21-2005 05:45 PM

And let us not forget Big Bird's song from Sesame Street, "ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ".

Big Bird pronounced it "Abca defghee Jekyll muh-nop quer stuve wix iz", because he thought it was a word and not the alphabet, you see.

MeatPies 08-28-2014 05:52 AM

1 Letter Difference!
 
The quick brown fox JUMPS over the lazy dog. Ha! Beat That!:p

Cunctator 08-28-2014 06:02 AM

Nine years late to the party, and that's the best you can come up with?

RTFirefly 08-28-2014 06:03 AM

The dog and fox have both been dead for years now :)

Mangetout 08-28-2014 06:39 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by RTFirefly (Post 17679811)
The dog and fox have both been dead for years now :)

No; I think that omits C, I, J, K, L, M, P, Q, U, X and Z

pulykamell 08-28-2014 08:16 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Cunctator (Post 17679810)
Nine years late to the party, and that's the best you can come up with?

And also mentioned multiple times in the thread.

Chronos 08-28-2014 11:17 AM

And I'll just note that a pangram is any sentence that contains all 26 letters, even if it has extras. A minimal pangram is a pangram that has each letter exactly once.

dougie_monty 08-28-2014 11:19 AM

In the Guinness Book of World Records:

Quartz glyph job vex'd cwm finks

bizerta 08-28-2014 12:11 PM

Here's a variation that I remember reading about several years ago: All the letters must be in alphabetical (or reverse alphabetical) order. That is, the last "F" in the sentence must be preceded by at least one "E". The last "S" in the sentence must have at least one "A" through "R" before it. To put this another way, write all the letters "A" through "Z" down. Then insert as few letters as necessary to make this a coherent sentence.

Damfino 08-28-2014 05:32 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by dougie_monty (Post 17680404)
In the Guinness Book of World Records:

Quartz glyph job vex'd cwm finks

Guinness Book of Records 1974 edition : "cwm-fjord bank glyphs vext quiz" 26 letters. Headline stating that inscriptions in a mountain valley irritate an eccentric philosopher.

hogarth 08-28-2014 11:00 PM

My favourite (for sounding more or less natural) was "New job: fix Mr. Gluck's hazy TV, PDQ!"

cochrane 08-29-2014 12:26 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MeatPies (Post 17679806)
The quick brown fox JUMPS over the lazy dog. Ha! Beat That!:p

The quick brown fox jumps over a lazy dog. :p

Sangahyando 08-03-2016 12:09 PM

At a loose end: feel moved to risk reviving this two-year-old zombie, hoping not to be come down on like a ton of bricks for so doing.

Sentences using all 26 letters of the alphabet, each one just once: the problem with this, is to come up with something not horribly stilted and tortured. In all this thread so far, only two such strike me as “surviving that test”:

Mr. Jock, TV Quiz PhD., bags few lynx.

and

New job: fix Mr. Gluck’s hazy TV, PDQ !

Taking it that for this difficult exercise, initials / acronyms are allowed and unavoidable: I have such a sentence (not my invention, but seen long ago and never forgotten) which I feel elegantly, and fairly meaningfully, uses each-letter-just-once. It involves a British abbreviation in the realm of the legal profession: QC (Queen’s Counsel).

Jump, dogs ! Why vex Fritz Blank, QC?

Dead Cat 08-03-2016 01:43 PM

One minimal pangram not mentioned so far is the following:

Qwyk bitch vox jumps glaz'd fern

Courtesy of wordsmith Peter Newby, who intended it to be understandable without explanation. Granted it uses an archaic spelling and an apostrophe, so it's no better than the others I guess. But the nice thing about it is its relative similarity to the canonical "quick brown fox" sentence.

Sangahyando 08-03-2016 02:19 PM

Well, yes – especially, as you intimate, if one is a fan of quick foxes. And this one does indeed avoid initials / acronyms. I personally, though, find it rather “twisted and tormented”. An ongoing oppositional thing in all wordplay of this kind – “ingenuity; versus to what degree of making sense /actually inhabiting this planet”.

I once got into a bit of an altercation with a work colleague, about palindromes. I proudly submitted a very long and cunningly-crafted one (I hasten to add, not my own and not claimed to him as such) which in a roundabout and contorted way, did sort-of make sense. He pooh-poohed it, asserting that it was better to have this kind of stuff short, but saying something understandable and basically “right”; rather than long, and essentially “a load of rubbish” – he quoted in support, his favourite palindrome, “Was it a car or a cat I saw?” Feeling a bit nettled, I opined that that nine-word offering was hardly a gem of meaningful sense-making, either: anyone who has difficulty visually distinguishing a car from a cat, must be either three-quarters blind or extremely stupid.

We cooled it, and agreed to disagree, before getting to the stage of setting about each other with fists; it’s maybe useful to reflect that the very large number of the world’s population who are not great wordplay enthusiasts, would consider those who are same -- to the point of tempers getting heated about such stuff – highly “sad” and in need of getting lives.

watchwolf49 08-03-2016 03:31 PM

Perhaps we could see the word "Cat" as short for Caterpillar (NYSE symbol CAT), a maker of distinctive farm tractors.

Don't knock it, Lamborghini makes tractors ...

Tibby or Not Tibby 08-03-2016 05:06 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by CookingWithGas (Post 6391590)
There's gotta be a way to do this with Mxyzptlk if proper names are allowed.

Well, if we're allowing names, I submit my ex-soviet agent urologist, KGB Xanthus Q. Frolypcevjiwz MD

jtur88 08-03-2016 05:53 PM

I don't think anybody mentioned this above, but the reason for "The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog's back" was because it also contained exactly the number of keystrokes on a standard typewriter between the conventional margins. They knew they could make it shorter, but they wanted to be able to test a machine for all letters and for spacing as well. But I can't find a cite to confirm that.

RadicalPi 08-03-2016 06:18 PM

My favorite is: "Pack my box with five dozen liquor jugs," which is not the shortest, but it is shorter than "lazy dog."

Quote:

Originally Posted by jtur88 (Post 19528290)
I don't think anybody mentioned this above, but the reason for "The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog's back" was because it also contained exactly the number of keystrokes on a standard typewriter between the conventional margins. They knew they could make it shorter, but they wanted to be able to test a machine for all letters and for spacing as well. But I can't find a cite to confirm that.

Do you have a cite for this?

OldGuy 08-03-2016 11:30 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jtur88 (Post 19528290)
I don't think anybody mentioned this above, but the reason for "The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog's back" was because it also contained exactly the number of keystrokes on a standard typewriter between the conventional margins. They knew they could make it shorter, but they wanted to be able to test a machine for all letters and for spacing as well. But I can't find a cite to confirm that.

I doubt this very much. Typewriter pitches were elite with 12 characters per inch and pica with 10 characters per inch. That sentence is 52 characters if I add a period to it. That would only take up 5.2 inches even for pica leaving left and right margins of 1.65 inches which has got to be wider than standard. Dissertations had the widest margins I ever heard of and they were only 1.5 inches.

Robot Arm 08-04-2016 01:02 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by OldGuy (Post 19528830)
I doubt this very much. Typewriter pitches were elite with 12 characters per inch and pica with 10 characters per inch. That sentence is 52 characters if I add a period to it. That would only take up 5.2 inches even for pica leaving left and right margins of 1.65 inches which has got to be wider than standard. Dissertations had the widest margins I ever heard of and they were only 1.5 inches.

When I was a kid, we had a typewriter that typed 11 characters to the inch. I think they called it "picalite", and a google search on that finds this page that says it's a trademark of Brother Corporation.

Wish we still had it (or maybe my brother still does); I knew it was unusual at the time, but had no idea how unusual.

susan 08-06-2016 06:54 PM

Just last week I worked "Jackdaws love my big sphynx of quartz" into conversation with someone where it was sufficiently related to what we were discussing that she didn't appear to find it an odd utterance (not to recognize a pangram).

TheseGoToEleven 08-08-2016 01:12 PM

I would love to hear more details on that conversation... :confused:

Skammer 08-08-2016 02:32 PM

What's the shortest sentence that uses all letters?

Technically, "I am" is the shortest sentence I can think of that uses all letters if you don't count the period at the end. On the other hand, if you don't count punctuation, most sentences contain all letters.

Leo Bloom 08-08-2016 03:11 PM

As a side note, pangrams are useful as language games, typing practice, and, as I learned a few years ago, in American Sign Language finger spelling final exam prep.


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