When writing something, some of you may have a certain number of characters that you wish to use. Too many and your work will be too long, too few, and it won’t be long enough. So you decide that the total number of characters you wish to use is 1000.
How many words is 1000 characters?
1000 characters will usually consist of 140-150 words. However, this is under the assumption each word has an average of 5 letters, and you stick to the most basic and conventional of punctuation.
The shortest words in our language are “I” and “A”, and the longest is “Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis”, a type of disease that I don’t know enough about diseases to talk about.
In this article, I want to talk a bit about what characters are, why they matter, whether they matter more than words, and why I’m writing this article in the first place.
What is a character?
Let’s start at the very beginning, and try to figure out what a character is. Most of us will be able to agree that all numbers and letters qualify as characters. However, did you know that all punctuation marks, from full stops to semicolons qualify as characters?
Other things that count as characters include all mathematical symbols, financial symbols, and abbreviates (such as “&”). Foreign letter joinings such as “œ” and “ß” count as one character- not two.
If we use examples, “hey there im john” is 17 characters. But if we sort out the grammatical errors, and change it to “Hey there, I’m John”, we bump it up to 19.
There is some debate around whether spaces qualify as characters- they don’t!
Getting words out of 1000 characters
How to get lots of words
You may find yourself in a situation where you only have 1000 characters, but you need to write more more than 150 words.
There are several things you can do to help you.
The first, and most obvious, is to always use the shortest words you can. For example, instead of saying “in order to”, try saying “to”. And instead of “utilise”, just “use” will do.
You should also use punctuation as little as possible.
This type of writing might be appropriate for a stupider (or younger) audience.
How to get fewer words
On the other hand, you might have a limit of 1000 characters but find that even 140 words is too many.
In this case, try and use lengthier words. Instead of words like “nice”, try saying “fantastic”, “lovely”, “delicious”, “extravagant”.
Also, don’t be afraid to be adventurous with your punctuation. The more punctuation you have, the more characters you will use up.
Writing in this way will be useful when writing quick reads for people of high intelligence.
A couple of Jokes: and why they’re wrong
If we alter the definition of characters, we can ever so slightly change the answer. For example, if we define characters of “fictional beings” the answer would be closer to “1000”. However, this joke is slightly factually inaccurate as many names consist of more than one word.
“Mickey Mouse” and “Donald Duck” are both two. “The Incredible Hulk” is three, and that’s not to mention all of the “X of Y” characters that you get.
Another joke answer to “How many words is 1000 characters” is 2, “1000” and “characters”. But this is also technically wrong as “1000” is a number, not a word. And even if we spell it out, it would be “one thousand”, which is two characters.
Characters vs Words
There will be some situations where knowing how many characters you need will be more important than knowing how many words you’ll be needing.
The best example of this I can think of is when you’ve been told to write “One page in Times New Roman, Size 12”. If each character is (approximately) the same size, you’ll have a better idea of how many can fit into one page.
Also, when you need something to only take up a certain number of bytes. On your computer or website, the fewer characters you use, the fewer bytes you’ll be using.
There will, however, be other situations where the word count will be of more use to you than character count.
Most of the time, when given a writing task by someone else, they are far more likely to tell us how many words we want than how many characters. It may also be useful if you end up having to use longer words than you expected to.
How to reduce characters as much as possible
Maybe your aim is simply to use as few characters as possible to get your message across. This is most likely because you’re using an app that has a character limit.
One great way of doing this is to use abbreviations. For example, you might say “brb” instead of “be right back”. Or you could say “omg” instead of “oh my god”.
You can also abbreviate the word “and” with symbols such as “+,& or n”.
Brackets can also help you to shorten sentences. For example, you can say “I burritos for lunch (my favourite meal) today” instead of “I had burritos for lunch today, burritos are my favourite meal”.
Why any of this matters
Now, I’m sure there will be some of you who will be wondering what the point in this whole article is. And that does make sense, characters probably aren’t what most of us want the news to be talking about today.
However, understanding what characters and how you can maximise or minimise them can help us to get a better grip of our own, and other languages. It can help you to decide whether you would rather focus on words or characters.
When we talk about “characters”, we’re not talking about Mickey Mouse, we’re talking about letters, numbers, punctuation marks, financial symbols, and mathematical symbols. Even though on average, you can expect to get between 140-150 words out of 1000 characters, you can also use shorter words to get more, or longer words to get less.