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Counting Words With JavaScript

Recently I needed to find a way to count the words in a paragraph and chop it if it’s too long. There’s a quick way to do this in JavaScript using the native split method.

Working on the Node.js command line gives you a nice way to see how this works and a little of how JavaScript treats strings.

Enter a long string into a variable and you then get access to string properties like length, which will here mean the character length including spaces.

> sentence = "my long sentence of words and words and more more words"
'my long sentence of words and words and more more words'
> sentence.length
55

Now you can use the split method to split this string at every blank space, entering an empty space as the parameter to split.

> sentence.split(' ');
[ 'my',
'long',
'sentence',
'of',
'words',
'and',
'words',
'and',
'more',
'more',
'words' ]

This returns an array with the split up sentence in it, chopped into individual words.

So if you split first, then call length, now you get your word length.

> sentence.split(' ').length
11