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06 February 2012 @ 05:16 pm
Changing word counts  
Ok, now this may be me being stupid, but why are there three different word counts on my latest fic? It wouldn't matter except that I'm writing for picfor1000 which obviously needs 1000 words exactly. So - I have 1000 words exactly in Googledocs where I'm writing, but then I'm curious (because it's happened before) so I paste the fic into Word to see if there's a difference and there is! It's 974! And in AO3, it's 965!

Now I've done some experimenting, apparently Googledocs considers the the dash to be a word, which I somewhat object to finding out now, but I can't for the life of me figure out what the difference is between Word and AO3... Has anyone else explored this particular phenomenon?
smirnoffmule on February 6th, 2012 05:49 pm (UTC)
I have noticed AO3 thinking what Word assured me was a 10xdrabble is actually 900 and something, which annoys me greatly. My genius is unrecognised! I guessed it had to do with whether they count contractions as two words or one, but I admit I haven't checked.
Valderys: Avon - slightly sanevalderys on February 7th, 2012 10:10 am (UTC)
I think you're right. Word counts a contraction as one word, Googledocs counts it as two words, which does explain some of the discrepancies. If AO3 counts both a contraction as one word and doesn't count a dash as being a word, it might well explain the differences... God, this stuff should be standardised already!!

P.S. On another note, my prompts for dark_fest don't seem to be in the masterlist, sorry hon...
Malk: Geekerymr_malk on February 7th, 2012 10:38 am (UTC)
There are standards for word counts, but they tend to apply to specific circumstances. Translators who charge by the word have their own specialist tools for verifying word-count (and even they have problems depending on the source document's format), and I daresay that they have contractual agreements on whether contractions and hyphenated words count as one or two. For touch typing (IIRC), word count is done on an average number of characters (5 I think - assuming an average word length of four letters and a space).

For less specific purposes, you are rather at the mercy of software manufacturer's conventions.
smirnoffmule on February 7th, 2012 12:50 pm (UTC)
Ugh, sorry, I've missed out a ton this year. Apparently I did the list with my eyes half closed or something. I've put them back in for you now.
prochytesprochytes on February 6th, 2012 06:36 pm (UTC)
I have a suspicion that the three dots of an aposiopesis (...) might be treated differently in different formats, but I have not checked.
Valderys: Avon - slightly sanevalderys on February 7th, 2012 10:11 am (UTC)
I'll have to check that too, although in this particular fic of mine it's not the case as I don't think I have any, for once!
Kalypso: Numberskalypso_v on February 6th, 2012 06:37 pm (UTC)
I found that Word counts my dashes as words recently, which is very annoying as I like to write to specific word counts, and now I have to run extra checks to see how many bits of punctuation I need to subtract (I haven't got the energy to go back and adjust all previous stories). So I'd guess that the dashes are the difference between Word and AO3, and that Googledocs is throwing in dashes plus something else?
Valderys: Avon - slightly sanevalderys on February 7th, 2012 10:13 am (UTC)
I think it's contractions. AO3 doesn't believe a dash is a word, and it also believes that a contraction is one word, whereas Googledocs believes it's two, for some random reason.
archaeologist_d: Merlin Arthur frowningarchaeologist_d on February 6th, 2012 06:55 pm (UTC)
Word definitely includes - as a word. I've had this problem for a while. When I uploaded my long story to ff.net, it had 10000 more words than word did. Plus I write a lot of drabbles and it's easy to see when a dash is added, it includes it.
Valderys: Avon - slightly sanevalderys on February 7th, 2012 10:17 am (UTC)
I've worked it out. Word considers - a word, but thinks a contraction is one word. Googledocs thinks - is a word and a contraction is two words. AO3 thinks - is not a word and that a contraction is one word. Which I have to say I am in agreement with, a dash is punctuation for goodness sake, and contractions are making two words one and should get that benefit of the doubt!
Malkmr_malk on February 7th, 2012 10:52 am (UTC)
Curiously, Word is inconsistent about how it counts dashes.
It would count "north-west" as a single word, also, it doesn't count the long dash that it sometimes substitutes while you are typing (type "one - two " when you add the space after the second word, MS Word alters the dash character, and doesn't count the altered version as a word). It's only the short hyphen with a space either side of it that it seems to count.

This sounds rather hair-splitting, but it is going to be significant if you import documents to Word from another application, as the other application will not change the format of the short dash (which it does count) to the long one (which it doesn't).

Hmmm... I sometimes forget just how nerdy I am capable of being...
Lokiloki_dip on February 6th, 2012 10:27 pm (UTC)
I gained 400 words from Word in the NaNo Wrimo count one year. I hit 50,007 on Word and was way over on the official count. They're very weird.
Valderys: Avon - slightly sanevalderys on February 7th, 2012 10:21 am (UTC)
That'll be the dashes! Word considers a - to be a word, which is crazy, but there you go. AO3 doesn't, and only considers a contraction to be one word too, which I think explains all the discrepancies.
Lokiloki_dip on February 7th, 2012 11:26 pm (UTC)
Contractions might be it! I don't use the dash enough for that much discrepency. Least I hope not.