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Word Play: Scrambled Letters; Message in Numbers; Numbers and Letters

Updated on April 26, 2012

I have always been intrigued by word play and word games. I enjoy using words in different ways on different occasions, sometimes literally and other times playfully.

Emails and Word Play

Emails can entertain us. Some can challenge us. Some actually have the ability to do both. Over the years I have received emails that talk about how our brain processes information, especially information that we read. One such email sent text very similar to the text below. Can you read this paragraph?

It is hrad to bveeile that I cloud raed and utadnrensd the wrods in fornt of me. It just pveors how ainzmag and idcebilnre the haumn bairn is. In a sudty ceetlpmod by Cmarbigde Uinevrtisy, lteetrs in wdros can apaper in any oedrr with the eticexpon of the fsirt and lsat ltteer (they msut aaeppr in teihr cerocrt pitsonois), and senomoe can siltl raed what is wetitrn. They elipaxn that the hmaun mind deos not look at each lteetr iladdunliivy, but ineatsd lokos at the word as a ctmoplee uint. Pterty dran azimang, huh? I wluod htae to tinhk that I mhigt have to caghne my psitooin on the mttear of wthheer crercot slenpilg is itrpmnaot or not.

Did you have any problems reading this paragraph?

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In the above paragraph, the first and last letters are in the correct position, but the letters between those two have been scrambled. According to the study done at Cambridge University, you should have been able to read this with no problem. To check if you read the paragraph correctly, it is written below.

It is hard to believe that I could read and understand the words in front of me. It just proves how amazing and incredible the human brain is. In a study completed by Cambridge University, letters in words can appear in any order with the exception of the first and last letter (they must appear in their correct positions), and someone can still read what is written. They explain that the human mind does not look at each letter individually, but instead looks at the word as a complete unit. Pretty darn amazing, huh? I would hate to think that I might have to change my position on the matter of whether correct spelling is important or not.

I created the above paragraph by paraphrasing the original text. I am placing it here for you to look at, because I believe that it just might be a little easier to read. It could, however, just be my imagination. But if it is easier to read, it could also be that certain letter positions and groupings may also make it easier for our brains to comprehend.

Did you have any problems reading the paragraph?

See results

You were probably able to read both without much difficulty. The study(the email stated), and your ability to read the above, proves that our brains do not comprehend words letter-by-letter but instead analyzes the complete word unit as a whole. But is that really true? Let’s look at another example. This time I will use just one sentence.

A laocl atmodatnrsiir has agodweekcnld the drootc’s magltheuasnr of a tgeeane cceanr pintaet due to a durg blendur at tiher hatospil.

This sentence which should have been much harder to decipher was adapted from a sentence in an article, MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit, written by Matt Davis. In his article, Mr. Davis debunks this study, one that was never done at Cambridge by the way, as a myth. He does go on to explain that there is some truth in the principle of it, but not enough. Read his article to get the whole truth. It gives a very thorough explanation of why the example in the email may have been easier to read than the one I created from my paraphrase.

What did the sentence say? The answer is below this picture.


The answer is . . .

A local administrator has acknowledged the doctor’s manslaughter of a teenage cancer patient due to a drug blunder at their hospital.

Were you able to read this sentence the first time?

See results

Another Email – Word Play and Brain Study

Recently I received another email entitled, Brain Study. This was another email that played with words, but in a totally different way. This email begins by stating, “I’ve seen this with the letters out of order, but this is the first time I’ve seen it with numbers.” And then it jumps right into the meat of the message with:

“F1gur471v3ly 5p34k1ng?”

Can you read what is said above? If so, you should have no problem reading the following paragraph. The email continues by stating, “If you can read this, you have a strong mind.” I don’t know if that statement is true or not, but that is what is being said. Here is the text:

Have you seen this Word Play before?

See results

Did you have any problems reading this paragraph?

See results

Although I've searched, I was not able to locate any further information about the validity of the statements concerning this email. I am looking forward to seeing the results of the polls.

So what did that paragraph say?

Amazing things! Impressive things! In the beginning it was hard but now, on this line your mind is reading it automatically with out even thinking about it, be proud! Only certain people can read this.

MRI Brain Scan
MRI Brain Scan | Source

Word Games - That's all Folks!

Words are fun to play with, which is evidenced by the fact that many people do: crossword puzzles, word search, cryptograms, etc. Let me know how you felt about this word play, and if you know of any others that I can add. Word play - have fun with words!

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Copyright © 2011 Cindy Murdoch (homesteadbound)

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Comments: "Word Play: Scrambled Letters; Message in Numbers; Numbers and Letters"

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    • profile image


      4 years ago

      i had no problem reading this

      did you?

    • homesteadbound profile imageAUTHOR

      Cindy Murdoch 

      7 years ago from Texas

      Thank you for sharing this with us, some person! I think that it is still pretty darn amazing the way our brains adapt!

    • profile image

      Some person 

      7 years ago

      Just a heads up. The numbers you see in the third example are what is known as "1337 sp33k" or "Leet speak" or "Elite Speak". Gamers talk.

      Most of the numbers represent letters or groups of letters.

      1 = I

      2 = Z

      3 = E

      4 = A

      5 = S

      6 = G (rare)

      7 = T

      8 = "ate" or B

      9 = g (rare)

      0 = O (duh)

      So you get things like gr8, or l8r (gr-eight, l-eight-r) or sw33t!

      As for text scrambling, it all depends on context, form and other factors other than just the words. There have been other examples that have been very hard to read compared to the original. Oversimplfying the way the brain works with language does not give a good understanding of the whole mechanism and can lead to incorrect further assumptions.

      I think it is cool that our minds have this "soft" processing ability, but it is not as miraculous as originally stated...

    • homesteadbound profile imageAUTHOR

      Cindy Murdoch 

      7 years ago from Texas

      It srue is, Jaun!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      1ts pr3t7y ama5in9 huh?

    • homesteadbound profile imageAUTHOR

      Cindy Murdoch 

      7 years ago from Texas

      gramarye - I am glad you enjoyed it. I think words are so interesting, especially knowing how our brain adapts and responds to them.

      Tina - glad you enjoyed it!

    • profile image

      Tina Thomas 

      7 years ago


    • gramarye profile image


      7 years ago from Adelaide - Australia

      I could read them all except for the one about the hospital administrator, but got the gist about a drug mix-up. Great hub, and really interesting. Voted up and shared :-)

    • homesteadbound profile imageAUTHOR

      Cindy Murdoch 

      7 years ago from Texas

      I'm gald you ejoeynd tehm. I fonud them in vroiuas pacles. Thanks so much, CarolineVABC!

    • CarolineVABC profile image


      7 years ago from Castaic

      I've seen mnay of tehse barin sutdy gmeas and I turly lvoe tehm!:-) Tnhaks for sahrnig. Weher did you get tehse tnghis form? I've been lkooing for tehse. Anyhow, voted up/interesting:-).

    • homesteadbound profile imageAUTHOR

      Cindy Murdoch 

      7 years ago from Texas

      Larry - that s what I think as well. We often read expecting what will come next. I believe that is why it is so hard to proofread your own work, because you know what comes next and you do not even notice that it is missing. Thanks so much for sharing your insight.

    • profile image

      Larry Bailey 

      7 years ago

      This concept kind of ties in to the experiment: 'The Invisible Gorilla' and the associated book by the same title (which dives deeper into the concept). In the book, the author's suggest that our mind's have an innate ability to fill in blanks when we expect something to be a certain way. When reading the above paragraphs (except Mr. Davis') I was much less reading, than I was guessing what the rest of the sentence would be. A successful guess is acknowledged right away as the sentence immediately makes sense. I think that Mr. Davis' sentence was much harder to understand because the context of his sentence was 'out of the norm' and more difficult to 'guess'. Check

    • homesteadbound profile imageAUTHOR

      Cindy Murdoch 

      8 years ago from Texas

      RealHousewife - I bet you didn't want to see the administrator! It could be that you are just that smart too! It really is amazing how the brain works. I do cognitive stimulation (therapy) and I get to see the brain working in some interesting ways.

      Thanks for stopping by, and for commenting.

    • RealHousewife profile image

      Kelly Umphenour 

      8 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      Really interesting...I didn't have a problem reading the last one..but I wonder if it is because I used to work in a hospital..therefore I recognized some of those words because I have seen them so many times and ha! Nobody wants to see the hospital administrator wants to speak to them! lol

      Fascinating how the brain operates!

    • homesteadbound profile imageAUTHOR

      Cindy Murdoch 

      8 years ago from Texas

      Sueswan - Thank you so much for finding the letter that I had mistyped in my misspelled word. I am pleased that you enjoyed this little word play.

      Thanks for stopping by and for sharing.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Hi homesteadbound

      The brain is amazing as was this hub.

      In the first example I could not make out the scrambled word ibcebilnre. I don't know if this is because the word is spelled wrong. One of the b's should have been a "d."

      In the last example I was able to read very little the first time but on my second go, I got all the words except manslaughter.

      Voted up and awesome.

    • homesteadbound profile imageAUTHOR

      Cindy Murdoch 

      8 years ago from Texas

      @eddy - I am glad that you enjoyed it. My Christmas was nice.

      @mary615 - I am pleased to have been able to amuse and amaze.

      Here's hoping both of you have a wonderful and prosperous new year.

    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 

      8 years ago from Florida

      Hi, this was SUCH a creative and amuzing Hub! Thanks for sharing this with us.

    • Eiddwen profile image


      8 years ago from Wales

      An amazing hub which I have to vote up up and away.

      I hope you had a great Christmas and are ready for this new year ahead.

      Take care


    • homesteadbound profile imageAUTHOR

      Cindy Murdoch 

      8 years ago from Texas

      ChaplinSpeaks - 7H4NK5 F0R 7H3 V0735 UP 4ND F0R 570PP1NG BY! 1 R3ALLY 4PPR3C1A73 17!

    • homesteadbound profile imageAUTHOR

      Cindy Murdoch 

      8 years ago from Texas

      Becky Katz - that is an interesting observation - the faster you read it the easier it was to read, because our tendency would be to slow down. I am glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for your very insightful comment.

    • homesteadbound profile imageAUTHOR

      Cindy Murdoch 

      8 years ago from Texas

      ktrapp - I agree! Our brains are truly amazing in how they are able to figure things out for us. Imagine if we used more than the "supposed" 10%. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts!

    • ChaplinSpeaks profile image

      Sarah Johnson 

      8 years ago from Charleston, South Carolina

      Wow! The one with the numbers is really cool! This hub makes me think about how we learn to read in the first place. Great hub. V073D UP!

    • homesteadbound profile imageAUTHOR

      Cindy Murdoch 

      8 years ago from Texas

      Millionaire Tips - I thought manslaughter was difficult also. But I thought that pintaet (patient) and blendur (blunder) were more difficult than they should have been. I think I came to the conclusion that I found them difficult was because they had words in them that I recognized (pint and blend) and my brain did not want to move past that although with effort I was able to do so.

      Thanks for stopping by!

    • Becky Katz profile image

      Becky Katz 

      8 years ago from Hereford, AZ

      This was quite a fun hub. I have seen the word one around but not the number one. I had no problem with the number one at all but found that the manslaughter one was a bit difficult. The larger words were not registering immediately. The faster I read it, the better it worked. If I slowed down, they were harder. I guess I just need to read them fast.

    • ktrapp profile image

      Kristin Trapp 

      8 years ago from Illinois

      This is a fascinating hub! It is amazing how our brains work so extraordinarily, even filling in missing pieces for us.

    • Millionaire Tips profile image

      Shasta Matova 

      8 years ago from USA

      This is really interesting. I had trouble with manslaughter too. The human mind is very powerful.

    • homesteadbound profile imageAUTHOR

      Cindy Murdoch 

      8 years ago from Texas

      pedrn44 - I'm glad you liked it. Thanks for stopping by!

    • pedrn44 profile image


      8 years ago from Greenfield, Wisconsin

      This is a great hub! The power of the human brain is amazing! Thanks for sharing.

    • homesteadbound profile imageAUTHOR

      Cindy Murdoch 

      8 years ago from Texas

      Rosemay50 - Wow! You did really well. I am pleased that you enjoyed them. Our brains truly are fascinating in how they work. Thanks for stopping by!

    • homesteadbound profile imageAUTHOR

      Cindy Murdoch 

      8 years ago from Texas

      vasmenon - yes, these emails have been around for many years now. Thanks for stopping by.

    • Rosemay50 profile image

      Rosemary Sadler 

      8 years ago from Hawkes Bay - NewZealand

      This is amazing, the only word I did not pick up on was 'manslaughter.' Perhaps because looking at the whole sentense my eyes picked the cancer and hospital as standing out, so maybe my brain just didn't associate manslaughter with the other 2 words. Odd.

      I couldn't believe how easy it was to read the number one, I thought that would get me for sure.

      A very interesting and fascinating hub.

    • vasmenon profile image

      Vasanthan R Menon 

      8 years ago from India

      Interesting article, though one of the some of them are familiar through forwarded emails...

      Thank you

    • homesteadbound profile imageAUTHOR

      Cindy Murdoch 

      8 years ago from Texas

      thebookmom - I am glad you enjoyed this. Thanks so much for stopping by!

    • homesteadbound profile imageAUTHOR

      Cindy Murdoch 

      8 years ago from Texas

      justateacher - I don't mind you using them at all. I am pleased that they will be useful for you. It does demonstrate how different people are able to overcome different difficulties.

      Thanks so much for stopping by. Let me know how they work for you.

      You might want to check out the website I mentioned:

    • thebookmom profile image


      8 years ago from Nebraska

      How very interesting! Great use of words and great hub :)

    • justateacher profile image

      LaDena Campbell 

      8 years ago from Somewhere Over The Rainbow - Near Oz...

      This is awesome. The first one I use quite frequently when I give inservices on learning disabilities. The others I have not seen before. I will bookmark and use these if you don't mind!

      Voted up and across - and shared!

    • homesteadbound profile imageAUTHOR

      Cindy Murdoch 

      8 years ago from Texas

      davenmidtown - That would make it good... right?

    • davenmidtown profile image

      David Stillwell 

      8 years ago from Sacramento, California

      It was like reading my first draft!


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