How Many Letters in the Alphabet: Try to Solve the Viral Riddle

The alphabet song won't help you in this case.

Social media’s newest brain game has a ton of people stumped. So stumped, in fact, that the riddle has gone viral. People are astounded at how incorrect their initial answers are. As we know from other viral riddles, they always make us look at things from an alternative perspective. Get those thinking caps on and warm up your brain because this “how many letters are in the alphabet riddle” is a doozy.

If you’re ready to take on the challenge, here’s the question.

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How many letters are in the alphabet?

Be careful. It’s not what you think.

At first, your initial reaction would be to say 26 as we have been taught since preschool by singing the famous alphabet song. If you said 26, try looking at the question in a new way.

Ready for the answer?

Alphabet riddle answer


OK, hear us out.

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“How many letters are in the alphabet” riddle answer explained

You already knew the answer wasn’t 26 letters. That would be too easy. But how did we come to 11? The answer, dear readers, can be found in the question itself.

The question is, “how many letters are in the alphabet?” In this instance, you are being asked to take the question as literally as possible by counting the letters in the words “the alphabet” instead of the actual alphabet itself. Now you see why this question catches so many people off guard. If you liked this riddle, check out our other brain teasers that will really get you thinking.

Emma Taubenfeld
Emma Taubenfeld is a former assistant editor for Reader’s Digest who writes about digital lifestyle topics such as memes, social media captions, pickup lines and cute pets. When she’s not working, you can find Emma reading corny young adult novels, creating carefully curated playlists and figuring out how to spice up boxed mac and cheese.