__Alphabetical Series__

** denotes practical examples used to illustrate important points in this discussion.*

**Almost every test on reasoning contains questions on alphabetical series. In such a question, if it consists of a single series of alphabets/combination, the alphabets/combinations are arranged in a particular manner and each alphabet/combination is related to the earlier and the following alphabets in a particular way. The examinee is supposed to decode the logic involved in the sequence and then fill in the space containing the question mark with a suitable choice out of those given. But before we proceed to discuss the various types of questions related to alphabetical series, we will talk of some basic facts which are essential to an understanding of these types of questions.**

**A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z**

I.

**: The normal English alphabet contains 26 letters in all, as shown above**__THE ALPHABET__
(Usually, questions on alphabet are
accompanied by this normal alphabet). From A to M, the alphabet completes its
first half, while the other half starts from N and ends at Z.

**A-M - 1-13 (First Alphabetical Half)**

**N-Z –14-26 (Second Alphabetical Half)**

II.

**: For purpose of convenience, it is helpful to remember this simple formula called EJOTY, with the help of which you can easily find the position of any letter without much effort. But for practical purposes, you need to learn by heart the positions of different letters in the alphabet.**__EJOTY__**E J O T Y**

**5**

**10 15 20 25**

Now, for instance, we wish to find
the position of, say, the 17

^{th}letter from the left side. You already know that the 15^{th}letter from the left side is O, therefore, the only thing you have to do is to find a letter which is two positions ahead of O, which is Q (The Answer). Using this simple formula, you can quickly find the position of any letter from the left side without much brain-rattling. Remembering the positions of different alphabets is basic to solving any question on alphabetical series. One of the best ways to achieve it is to practice EJOTY. Simply write down the full names of any 200 people you can imagine and do as follows:
^

**For example, let’s say the name of the person imagined is ZUBINA. Now from EJOTY, we know that Z stands for 26, U stands for 21, B stands for 2, I stands for 9, N stands for 14 and A stands for 1. Now add up all these positions (26+21+2+9+14+1). What you get on addition does not have any significance, but it can be a very good way to try to make out and remember the individual positions of letters in the alphabet.**
III.

**: Much more commonly, you get questions in the tests which provide you alphabetical positions from the right side. Since we are used to counting from the left side i.e. A, B, C… and not Z, Y, X…, the formula we discussed earlier will be applicable with a bit of modification. But before we proceed to discuss it, it is essential to remember one simple mathematical fact.**__FINDING POSITIONS__***Let’s say there is a row of 7 boys in which a boy is standing 3**

^{rd}from left. We want to know his position from the right side.
I
I I
I I
I I

1st
2

^{nd}**3**4^{rd}^{th}5^{th}6^{th}7^{th}**You can see for yourself that the boy who was 3**

^{rd}from the left is placed 5^{th}from the right side.
The sum of both the positions is 8
(3+5), while the total number of boys is 7. This happens because we are
counting a single boy twice in the calculation process. If we had subtracted 3
from 7 (as some of us might do), we would have got 4, which is obviously not
the correct position from the right side. An important conclusion emerges from
this discussion.

*If we are dealing with an alphabet and we have been given the position of any letter from either side, we will add 1 to the total no. of letters and then subtract its position from one side to get its position from the other side.*For example, let’s find the position from the right of a letter which is the 9^{th}from the left side.
A B
C D E F
G H I J
K L M N O
P Q R S T
U V W X Y Z

1
2 3 4
5 6 7
8

**9**10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26
26 25 24
23 22 21 20 19

**18**17 16 15 14 13 12 11 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
As you can see for yourself, the 9

^{th}letter from the left side, I, comes out to be the 18^{th}from the right side. Their sum (9+18=27) is again one more than the total number of alphabets i.e. 26. We can do this operation easily by adding one to the total number of letters (26+1=27) and then subtracting 9 from it. It gives you the letter position 18^{th}from the right, which you can verify yourself from the above alphabet. The same procedure will be applicable if we are given an initial right position and are supposed to find it from the left side. Take for example, a letter which is placed 11^{th}from the right side. If we want to locate its position from the left side, we will add 1 to total no. of letters and then subtract the right position from it to get its position from the left side. 27 – 11 gives you 16. Using EJOTY, you can easily conclude that the letter is P (16^{th}from left, 11^{th}from right).
The same logic is applicable if we
are dealing with a situation in which the position of an item from the top is
given to us and we want to find it from the bottom side or vice-versa.

IV. Still another type of question
concerns finding the midpoint between two letters in the alphabet. For
instance, let’s talk of a case

**which requires us to find the mid-point between the 11**^{th}letter and the 17^{th}letter from the left side.
A B
C D E F
G H I J
K L M N
O P Q R S
T U V W X
Y Z

1
2 3 4
5 6 7
8 9 10

**11**12 13 14 15 16**17**18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26
26
25 24 23 22 21
20 19 18

**17 16 15 14 13 12 11 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1**
You can see that there are five
letters between these two positions i.e. L, M, N, O and P. Obviously, the
midpoint of 5 items is the third item from either side, whether counted from
the left or the right. It comes out to be N, which is the correct answer. But
frankly speaking, so much labour is not exactly required in solving such
questions. Let’s let the cat out of the bag. In such questions, if the
positions are given from the same side (i.e. either both are from left or both
are from right), simply add up the two positions, get their average and you
have the answer. In this case, the two positions are 11 and 17 from left.
Adding them and averaging them gives you 14. Recollect the EJOTY formula and
you immediately come up with the letter which is 14

^{th}from the left side (preceding O). The same procedure will be applicable if you are given a case in which both the positions are counted from the right side. Remember that the answer you get will be from the same sides which you have been given. Let’s make this thing clearer by taking a practical example.***Consider a case in which we have to find the mid-point between the 13**

^{th}and the 19^{th}letter from the right side.**Adding the two positions gives us 32, the average of which is 16. So we get the mid-point, which is 16**. You can verify this answer by looking up the above alphabet. In fact, for such questions, one should have so much practice that one does not need to look up the alphabet, which proves to be time-consuming.

^{th}from the right side (the same as the sides given in the question). Now we have to convert this position into a position from the left. Applying the logic discussed earlier, we subtract 16 from 27 and get 11^{th}from the left, which is obviously K
A B
C D E F
G H I J
K L M N O
P Q R S T
U V W X Y Z

1
2 3 4
5 6 7
8 9 10 11 12
13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26

26
25 24 23 22 21
20

**19**18 17 16 15 14**13**12 11 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
Now let us
consider the third case in which we have to find the mid-point between two
alphabetical positions, one of which is given from the left and the other from
the right.

*****Take, for instance, a case in which we have to find the mid-point between the 6

^{th}position from the left side and the 11

^{th}position from the right side. The first thing we have to do is to convert the right position into a left position to make the data comparable in nature. Doing so gives us 16. Now add up 16 and 6 (because now both are from the same side), average them, apply EJOTY and you get the correct answer.

IV.

**: Many questions concerning reversing of the alphabet are a part of reasoning tests. Consider this question:**__REVERSING__***What will the 11**

^{th}letter of the following alphabet if the second half of the alphabet is written in reverse order?
A B
C D E F
G H I J
K L M N O
P Q R S T
U V W X Y Z

1
2 3 4
5 6 7
8 9 10

**11**12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26
26
25 24 23 22 21
20 19 18 17 16 15
14 13 12 11
10 9 8 7
6 5
4 3 2
1

The most
important thing to remember in a question like the above is to determine where
the required position falls, i.e. in the first or the second half. In this
case, the answer falls in the first half. Therefore, if the second half is
written in reversed order, it will have no impact on the position of our
letter. This can be likened to reversing the tail of an elephant and asking if
it would have an impact on its trunk. The answer is obviously no. So in this
case, we have to simply decide the 11

^{th}letter from the left side, which is K, by using our EJOTY.
Now have a look at this question

***What will be the 12**

^{th}letter from the right side if the first half of the alphabet is written in reverse order?
Now examine it carefully. This
question is pretty much the same as the earlier one. The examiner has cleverly
phrased his question so as to trap you. If you want to count from the right
side and the answer falls in the first half from the right side (the normal
second half is now your first half because you have started counting from this
side), reversing the first half of a normal alphabet will have no impact on the
right answer. So now the question can be rephrased like finding the 12

^{th}letter from the right side. The correct answer as you can find quite comfortably is O.
Now try solving this one.

***Which letter will be the 17**

^{th}from the left side if the second half of the normal alphabet is reversed?
Now this is posing a bit difficult
problem. Your answer will fall in the second half (because the first half is
complete when you are at position 13 from left). So the letters A-M remain the
same while from N-Z are written like Z, Y, X till N. In effect, we can count 13
letters from A-M and then simply add four letters from the behind of the
alphabet. You can see for yourself that the fourth letter from the rear side is
W, which is the correct answer. But we have solved this question by looking at
the above alphabet. Let’s solve it the faster way without looking up the
alphabet.

Since only the 2

^{nd}half is being reversed, we can easily skip the first 13 letters, which will assume to have been counted in a normal way. The question is how to find the 17^{th}letter from the left with the reversed second half. Simply count the fourth letter from the right side (which is obviously the 23^{rd}from the left side), which if added to the figure 13, makes it the 17^{th}from left. Refer to the following figure for clarity. Applying our earlier procedure, the 4^{th}from right is W; we get the same correct answer.
A B
C D E F
G H I J
K L M Z Y
X W V U
T S R Q
P O N

1
2 3 4
5 6 7
8 9 10 11 12
13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21
22 23 24 25
26

Now let’s consider a case in which
the entire alphabet is reversed.

***What would be the 16**

^{th}letter from the left side if the normal English alphabet is written in reverse order?
A B
C D E F
G H I J
K L M N
O P Q R S
T U V W X
Y Z

1
2 3 4
5 6 7
8

**9**10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 2626 25 24 23 22 21 20 19

**18**17 16 15 14 13 12 11 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

Obviously
the alphabet will look like Z, Y X… from the left if we reverse the whole of
it. Now just imagine that what was on the left earlier has become on the right
now. So A will go to the right extreme, followed by B and so on. In reality,
what was 16

^{th}from the left earlier has now become the 16^{th}from the right side. So if this 16^{th}from right can be converted to the left side i.e. 11 and we already know from EJOTY that the 11^{th}letter from left is K.
V.

**: Consider the following question:**__LEFT-RIGHT-LEFT__***What will be the 5**

^{th}letter to the right of the 9^{th}letter from the left side?
A B
C D E F
G H I J
K L M N O
P Q R S T
U V W X Y Z

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26

Go to the end of the question. It
asks you to start counting from left and arrive at the 9

^{th}from the left which is I. Now starting from I, we are to find the 5^{th}letter to its right as per the statement, which is N.
In reality N is placed at the 14

^{th}from left which is a figure you can get by adding the numbers in the question (9+5).

__Rule No. 1__**: Whenever we are given two opposite directions, i.e., left-right or right-left, we will add up those two numerals and will count from the direction given at the end of the question.**

**Now examine this one:**

*** What will be the 11**

^{th}letter to the left of 23^{rd}letter from the left side?**Repeating the procedure followed in the earlier case, we will get the answer, i.e., L. In reality, L is the 12**

^{th}letter from left and this 12 has been obtained by subtracting the smaller numeral from the bigger one given in the question.

__Rule No. 2__**: Whenever we are given two same directions, i.e., right-right or left-left, we will subtract the smaller numeral from the bigger one and will count from the direction given at the end of the question**

**Try this one: What will be the 9**

^{th}letter to the right of 19^{th}from the right side? (Subtract and then find the letter counting from left)**VI.**: Have a look at the following poser

__MULTIPLE ALPHABETICAL SEQUENCES__**ADH: MSZ :: GQA : ?**

The components of all the sequences are
related to their preceding and the following components in a specific manner.
To simplify the things, we will assign the respective alphabetical positions to
the letters.

**A D H : M S Z :: G Q A : ? ? ?**

**1 4 8 13 19 26 8 17 1**

**+3 +4 +5 +6 +7 +8 +9 +10**

As you can see from the above
illustration, the difference between the consecutive components is increasing
by one position each time. So, the question requires you to determine the next
three letters working with the same logic. It is here that your EJOTY formula
will prove handy. Applying it, you can readily find the answer, which turns out
to be LXK.

__PRACTICE QUESTIONS__
1. What will be the 12

^{th}letter to the right of 10^{th}from the left side?
a. V b. T
c. U d. W

2. What will be the 9

^{th}letter to the left of 16^{th}from the right side?
a. D b. C c. B d.
A

3. What will be the 19

^{th}letter to the right of 3^{rd}from the left side?
a. U b. T
c. W d. V

4. What will be the 11

^{th}letter to the left of 13^{th}from the right side?
a. C b.
D c. B d. E

5. What will be the 18

^{th}letter from the left if the first half of the alphabet is reversed?
a.
R
b. V c. I d. Q

6. What will be the 13

^{th}letter from the right side if the first half of the normal alphabet is reversed?
a.
A
b. Z c. N d. M

7. What will be the 16

^{th}letter from the left side if the second half is written in reverse order?
a.
C b. X c. L d. None of these

8. What will be the 21st
letter from the right side if the first half of the alphabet is reversed?

a.
H
b. R c. F d. None of these

9. What will be the 16

^{th}letter to the right of the 8^{th}letter from the left if the entire alphabet is written in reverse order?
a. C
b. B c. X d. None of these

10. Which
alphabet will be mid-way between the 7

a. H b. R c. D d. I

^{th}and the 11^{th}letters counting from the left end of a normal alphabet?a. H b. R c. D d. I

11. Which alphabet will be mid-way
between the 17

^{th}and the 5^{th}letters counting from the right end of a normal alphabet?
a.
P
b. J c. Q d. K

12. Which alphabet will be mid-way
between the 8

^{th}and the 11^{th}letters counting from the left end of a normal alphabet?
a.
S
b. Q c. P d. indeterminate answer

13. Which letter will be 2 positions
ahead of the letter which is mid-way between the 7

^{th}letter and the 19^{th}letter from the right end?
a.
P
b. O c. Q d. M

14. Which letter will be three
positions left of the mid-point between the 5

^{th}and the 7^{th}letters from the right side?
a. C
b. K c. P d. R

15. Which letter will be the 8

^{th}letter to the right of the 11^{th}letter from the left side if the first and the second halves are reversed separately?
a. None of these b.
U c. X d. S

16. Which alphabet, if counting is
done from both the left and the right sides, will be mid-way between the 12

^{th}from the left side and the 11^{th}from the right side?
a. W b. D c. N
d. M

17. If MDX: NWC:: KTR: ?

a.
PGI
b. LGI c. PHI d. OHJ

18. JHFC: BGGK:: PMRO: ?

a.
ORMQ
b. None of these c. NSLQ d. MSLQ

19. If ADCE: 259161, RTOPQ:: ?

a.
289256225400324
b. 324289256225400 c. 256225225400324 d. None of these

20. If EVS: DXP, LRT: ?

a. KTQ b. KPQ
c. MUW d. None of these

__Key and Expls__
1.
A.

10+12=
22

^{nd}from left.
2.C

16+9=
25

^{th}from right i.e. 2^{nd}from left
3.D

22

^{nd}from left. Use EJOTY.
4.A

24

^{th }from right i.e. 3d from left
5.A

The
reversal of the first half will not impact our answer as it falls in the second
half.

6.C

The
reversal of the first half will not impact our answer as it falls in the second
half.

7.B

A-N
gives us 13 letters from left. The rest have to be from right i.e. 3

^{rd}from right i.e. 24^{th}from left is the answer.
8.A

The
reversal of the first half will impact our answer as it falls in the first
half. Z-N gives us the first 13 letters. The rest eight have to come from A….M.
So counting with EJOTY, the 8

^{th}from left is H.
9.C

In
a nutshell, after reversal, we need to count the 3

^{rd}letter from left i.e. X.
10.D

Averaging
11 and 7 gives us 9 i.e. I.

11.A

17

^{th}and 5^{th}from right correspond to 10^{th}and 22^{nd}from left. Averaging them yields 16 i.e. P.
12.D

11

^{th}and 8^{th}from right correspond to 16^{th}and 19^{th}from left. Averaging them yields 17.5 i.e. non-existent letter.
13.A

7

^{th}and 19^{th}from right correspond to 20^{th}and 8^{th}from left. Averaging them yields 14 i.e. N. Two places ahead of N is P.
14.D

5

^{th}and 7^{th}from right correspond to 22^{nd }and 20^{th}from left. Averaging them yields 21 i.e. U, which has R three places to its left.
15.B

We
need to find the 21

^{st}letter from the left side.
16.C

Averaging
12 and 16 yields 14.

17.A

M
D X : N W C :: K
T R : P
G I

14
4 25 14 4 25
11 20 18 11
20 18

*From left From right From left From right*

18.C

*BECOMES (REVERSE ORDER)*

*BECOMES (REVERSE ORDER)*

J
H F C : B G G K
:: P M R O : N
S L Q

+1 -1 +1 -1 +1
-1 +1 -1

*Becomes (REVERSE ORDER)*

*BECOMES (REVERSE ORDER)*

^{19.A}

^{Squaring respective alphabetical positions and putting them in a reverse order.}
A
D C E: 25 9 16 1
:: R T O
P Q : 289 256 225 400 324

1

^{2}4^{2}3^{2}5^{2 }18^{2 }20^{2}15^{2}16^{2 }17^{2 }
20.A

E
V S : D X P ::
L R T:
K T Q

5
22 19 : 4 24 16 :: 12
18 20 11 20 17

-1
+2 -3 -1 +2 -3

*Becomes Becomes*

very informative post indeed.. being enrolled in http://www.wiziq.com/course/4870-ias-general-studies-and-csat-prelims-question-bank,I was looking for such articles online to assist me.. and your post helped me a lot :)

ReplyDeletevery good.. i used to count alphabets every time. but now i ll remember EJOTY. thanks. going to check ur blog in detail. really appeciate your hard work in making all this. thanks again.

ReplyDelete