You say potato, I say Mississippi

As a method of counting, trying to be accurate to the progression of seconds, which is more accurate: “one potato, two potato…”; or “one Mississippi, two Mississippi…”?
With a whole syllable difference, isn’t “Mississippi” going to be significantly longer for most people to pronounce than “potato?”
I challenge anyone to do a blind test of “potatoes” versus “Mississippis”, using the one minute standard.
This is a serious question. My 5-year-old niece asked me.

I was always told that hippopotamus was the word to use, and that is a syllable longer than Mississippi… I sure hope someone rises to your challenge to do a blind test. Sorry, but it won’t be me tonight:p

I"m sure it would vary from person to person. Some people talk much faster than others, so their syllables would be comparitively brief.

Another counting method not yet mentioned is “one thousand-1, one thousand 2, …” Syllable-wise, it’s the same as ‘potato’, but it might average a hair longer because it’s two words.

I usually use one-onethousand, myself, but I have no desire to test its accuracy. I find I only use this method of counting when playing hide-and-seek, an endeavor which does not require accurate timing.

But I’ll bet I know what your niece would like for her 6th birthday–a shiny new watch!


one, cat and dog, two, cat and dog, three.

I have always useed Missippe instead of mississippi

How about 1,2,3,4,… with a second between each number?

OK, a little facetious admitedly, but it is the way I count seconds. First I establish the rhythm (think of an old clock, a metronome, or one of those early digital clocks with a mechanical display ticking away) and then just count off the ticks. For me it’s good to within five per cent over five minutes (15 seconds) which is fine for my purposes.

The potato thing isn’t for counting seconds, it’s for picking who will be “it” in a game like tag. It’s an eeny-meeny alternative.

Why not just get a watch and train yourself to count seconds? Or, if you find it easier with a filler word, get a watch and time yourself with different ones to see which does the best job.

Another thing you can do is time how long it takes you to count a certain sequence. I’m pretty consistently at 25 seconds to count to 60.