1. SubscriberFMF
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    11 May '11 04:44
    My 18 month old computer keyboard is still in pretty good nick with almost all letters clearly visible - white lettering on the black plastic background. But why has my letter 'n' disappeared? And why is 'm' almost gone too? Why only these two?

    The most commonly used letter in the English language is the letter “e”. This is the case in the general language, in fiction and non-fiction writings, journalism, religious works like the Bible, and even in Morse code. The most common consonant in the English language is “t.”

    With “e” being so common in the English language, one would think that it would start the most words. Actually “t” begins the most words, followed by “o.” “E” is the letter which most commonly occurs third in a word, and is the third most common second letter in a word. The most common second letter in a word in the English language is h.

    Actually, “e” is far down the list of English language word beginners, and comes in at the 15th place. The five most common letters beginning words are “t,” “o,” “a,” “w,” and “b.”

    Approximately half of the words in the English language end with the letters “e,” “t,” “d,” and “s” with the greatest share of words ending in “e.” Further, there are four letters most likely to follow “e" in a word. These are “r,” “s,” “n,” and “d.”

    Ironically, of the most common words with two letters in the English language, only three words actually have an “e.” They are be, we, and me. As well, in the top twenty most frequently written English language words, only three words have an “e.” These are “the,” the most frequently used word in the English language, and “he” and “be.” However, when one analyzes most frequently used three-letter words, “e” gets a fairer share.

    When teaching children spelling, it can be fun to play a game with them, where one says only words that do not contain an “e.” It is pretty difficult to get through more than a few sentences without a slip. The “e” is fairly indispensable. For example, this article alone contains 193 of them. I have also used the most common diphthong “th” 63 times, and the most common consonant “t” 151 times.

    http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-the-most-commonly-used-letter-in-english.htm
  2. SubscriberAThousandYoung
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    11 May '11 05:36
    M and N are becoming obsolete.
  3. Cape Town
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    11 May '11 05:50
    Originally posted by FMF
    My 18 month old computer keyboard is still in pretty good nick with almost all letters clearly visible - white lettering on the black plastic background. But why has my letter 'n' disappeared? And why is 'm' almost gone too? Why only these two?
    On my keyboard the worst are: n,d,m,f,s,l,c,e approximately in that order.
    I touch type, and I believe the wear pattern has to do with the length of fingers and whether or not the finger nail typically strike the key or the soft part of the finger.
    In my case there is clear finger nail wear on n,m, and d and the right shift key.
  4. Joined
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    11 May '11 12:30
    also letter frequency on a keyboard has another factor effecting it... Passwords.
    Passwords are often the fastest things typed on a keyboard and can potentially skew the letter frequency.
    Keyboard quality also plays a role in this, my 5+ year old keyboard has no letter wear on it at all.
  5. Standard memberPalynka
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    11 May '11 12:52
    Originally posted by googlefudge
    Keyboard quality also plays a role in this, my 5+ year old keyboard has no letter wear on it at all.
    Exactly, and unless you have a really high-end keyboard, then the quality between different key labels within a keyboard will vary significantly. In mine, the "s" is by far the most worn-out label and I can't think of a good reason why that should be the most used key.
  6. Cape Town
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    11 May '11 21:101 edit
    Originally posted by Palynka
    Exactly, and unless you have a really high-end keyboard, then the quality between different key labels within a keyboard will vary significantly. In mine, the "s" is by far the most worn-out label and I can't think of a good reason why that should be the most used key.
    Do you touch type? Where do you rest your hands when you pause? Where are your hands when you are thinking? Are you the main user of the keyboard? Do you realize that "Jesus Christ" has more s's (what is the correct plural here?) in it than any other letter?
  7. Standard memberPalynka
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    11 May '11 21:51
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    Do you touch type? Where do you rest your hands when you pause? Where are your hands when you are thinking? Are you the main user of the keyboard? Do you realize that "Jesus Christ" has more s's (what is the correct plural here?) in it than any other letter?
    Yes. AWEF and JIO;. Yes. I do now.
  8. Cape Town
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    16 May '11 13:51
    Originally posted by Palynka
    Yes. AWEF and JIO;. Yes. I do now.
    My fingers go on asdf jkl;
    With your fingers higher up like that, I would think that your finger nail would tend to hit the 's' key which might explain its greater wear. On my keyboard, there is no doubt that the worst wear is from finger nails and that is directly related to where I hold my hands and the angle of the fingers as they hit the keys.
  9. Subscribersonhouse
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    16 May '11 14:08
    Originally posted by FMF
    My 18 month old computer keyboard is still in pretty good nick with almost all letters clearly visible - white lettering on the black plastic background. But why has my letter 'n' disappeared? And why is 'm' almost gone too? Why only these two?

    The most commonly used letter in the English language is the letter “e”. This is the case in the general lang ...[text shortened]... s.

    http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-the-most-commonly-used-letter-in-english.htm
    What brand keyboard do you have? I had a keyboard someone spilled coffee on and that was that for that keyboard, so I went to our local PC Warehouse, he had an identical keyboard, an ancient HP, at least 5 years old, that was 2 years ago and no letters have disappeared, every on in sharp definition.
  10. Standard memberPalynka
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    16 May '11 14:111 edit
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    My fingers go on asdf jkl;
    With your fingers higher up like that, I would think that your finger nail would tend to hit the 's' key which might explain its greater wear. On my keyboard, there is no doubt that the worst wear is from finger nails and that is directly related to where I hold my hands and the angle of the fingers as they hit the keys.
    I think that's just rationalizing. Had I rest my finger on the s you would probably point out to that.

    I've had other keyboards, of course, and never noticed the s deteriorating any faster. It's much more likely that this is the result of either a one off event (e.g. some dirt sticking to it and so scratching it out led to deterioration) or because the quality of the sticker wasn't as good as the others.

    Edit - The keyboard in my office is a Dell.
  11. Cape Town
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    16 May '11 14:56
    Originally posted by Palynka
    I think that's just rationalizing.
    Quite possibly. However, on my keyboard there are actual gouges and the keys "d","n","m", left "SHIFT" and the ENTER.
    The angles of the gouges match the angles of my finger nails as they hit those keys, and the angles of my fingers causes those keys in particular to be hit with finger nails more than other keys.
    Whether this is the cause of wear on your keyboard is mere speculation.

    As for talk of 'quality of keyboard', I really don't care if the letters wear off. What matters to me is the feel of the keys. Some keyboards make my fingers tire much quicker than others.
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    17 May '11 12:12
    maybe you used the "n"word too many times? 🙂
  13. SubscriberFMF
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    18 May '11 14:56
    Originally posted by Sam The Sham
    maybe you used the "n"word too many times? 🙂
    And yet my g is in good nick. 😉
  14. Germany
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    18 May '11 15:35
    Ni! Such a terrible word!
  15. Subscribersonhouse
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    26 May '11 10:54
    Originally posted by KazetNagorra
    Ni! Such a terrible word!
    Nickle?
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