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# More Accurate Second Counting

Replace "1 one thousand, 2 one thousand etc" with "1 and then a 2 and then a 3" (then) "13 and a 14 and a 15" (then) "101 and 102 and 103" etc.
 (+2, -3) [vote for, against]

The standard way to try to estimate seconds without a timepiece is saying "one thousand" between the numbers. However this is awkward and inaccurate due to the fact that you're depending on rhythmically recited syllables in a cadence to approximate a certain amount of time for numbers that have a varying number of syllables. "One one thousand" has 4, "eleven one thousand" has 6, "thirteen one thousand" has 5, "one hundred one one thousand" has 7 etc.

The current way to deal with this is to say the number as fast as you need to fit into the cadence. This is clumsy and annoying and when you get into the hundreds it's pretty useless.

I've tried this other method and it works. You use 4 little sentences to count up to your number and you change it as necessary to keep an even 4 syllables through most numbers. It's not as complicated as it sounds. The sentences are: "and then a" as in "1 and then a 2 and then a 3 and then a...". Next sentence is "and a" for the longer numbers as in: "13 and a 14 and a 15 and a 16". Longer numbers just get "and" as in: "101 and 102 and 103 and 104".

There are a couple of bumps where the odd extra or lesser syllable number pops up but it's pretty easy to compensate for.

"9 and then a 10 and then 11 and a 12 and then a 13 and a 14 and a 15..." That sounds tricky but it's not. Give it a try.

Now kdf will breathlessly point out (and I of course thank him for his helpful research) dance instructors use "one and a two and a..." regularly to set up a timing, but as far as I know, nobody has used a varying number of words to fit various numbers into a standard 4 syllable cadence.

It's also kind of fun.

 — doctorremulac3, Feb 24 2021

Category?
 — sninctown, Feb 25 2021

If you're counting off seconds beyond about 30, it won't be particularly accurate no matter the method (accumulative errors). So worrying about "hundreds" is probably overkill.
On the other hand, 99% of people carry a smartphone which has a stopwatch in it...

 Yea, but even up to a minute or so, this has a nice rhythm to it.

 Try it. It might change the way you count seconds when you don't have your phone.

Thanks Snic, I pulled down to science - unit of measurement and sloppily clicked the wrong one I guess.
 — doctorremulac3, Feb 25 2021

I'm a fan of the Mississippi method.
 — tatterdemalion, Feb 25 2021

"a hundred and one one thousand" has 8 syllables
 — pocmloc, Feb 25 2021

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