This is a very lovely question from the extremely obscure book Beyond Language written by Dmitri A. Borgmann, founder of modern logology.

Presented are four word lists:

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If your analysis of these word lists is correct, you will be able to answer each of the following questions:

  1. In we take all of the words in the four lists and mix them together, they constitute a group possessing a very specific characteristic. What is that characteristic?

  2. Exclude the four words in Group 4. The remaining words, those in the first three groups, indiscriminately combined, represent a group of higher order, a group the characteristic of which is of a higher degree of specificity. What is that characteristic?

  3. Exclude the 11 words in Groups 3 and 4. The remaining words, those in Groups 1 and 2, jumbled together, are a group with an even higher, still more refined, degrees of specificity. What is the controlling characteristic of this group?

  4. Exclude all words except those in Group 1. The twelve words in that first group are the most exclusive, most specific set of all. Bo you recognize their common bond?

  5. The words of Group 3 have an irrelevant, distracting feature built into them, out of pure malice. What is it?


1 Answer 1



Group 1:

The double letter has two different sounds.

Group 2:

One of the letters in the double letter is silent. (This is different than in group 4; these are compound words, so we know that one's silent and the other's pronounced)

Group 3:

Both letters make the same sound, but they are still pronounced separately.

Group 4:

The two letters are pronounced together.


Silly sally likes all the words :) (double letter)


The double letters in words in groups 1-3 are pronounced separately. One letter could be pronounced and the other silent. Or the same phoneme is pronounced twice in a row. Or there's two separate phonemes.


The double letters in words in groups 1-2 are pronounced differently.


The double letters in group 1 are pronounced differently, neither of them being silent.


Words in group 3 have two sets of double letters.


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