Short Stop

Short Stop

We often overlook those things in life that are obvious and familiar. And when it comes to language these idiosyncrasies are all around us. The Short Stop is fun and simple challenge to put out there to just about anyone. When the answer is revealed it will get everyone wanting more. You ask people to figure out a word based on an impossible sounding question. How can something be made shorter by adding to it?

Guide lines
Ready, Steady, Go!

When you meet with people in a social setting or for an informal chat there is often time to shoot the breeze and just indulge in some light hearted conversation. People generally enjoy a good lateral thinking challenge and the Short Stop is up there.


I have an interesting challenge for you all.

Lend me your ears

You may choose to write the challenge down on a piece of paper.


What five-letter word becomes shorter when you add two letters to it?

Seal the Deal and Reveal

You write down the answer and just let them absorb this for a minute.


Don't overlook the obvious here. The word that becomes shorter when you add two letters to it is "short".

Some extra lines you can try

  • How's that for short and sweet?
  • Everyone wants to be taller, but words want to be shorter.
  • Less is more, except in this case… now more is less.
  • The answer is, er, literally in front of your eyes… short-er.
Anticipated responses and retorts

Can you show me another one?

Call me tomorrow.

Where do you find these things?

They are all around us.

Has anyone ever arrived at the correct answer?

Not yet.
Good follow ups
When & where
When to use it
  • When you want to get some creative out-of the-box thinking flowing in an informal gathering.
  • When in a social setting at work and you want to get people loosened up.
  • When you want to get people’s curiosity going.
Where to use it
  • mentoring
  • team building events
  • brainstorming sessions
  • socializing at a bar
Getting ready
Items required
  • a piece of paper to write the question down on
  • Remember the question precisely - it is important not to give away the answer.
  • Or print the question on the paper card.
  • Or you could save the text on your phone.
Training required
  • Try asking the question at least one, not making any stress on the "shorter" word.
Watch out (potential unexpected effects)
  • They might be too smart and guess the answer immediately - just tell them how good they are and continue to the next base.

type type

word play

material material


size size

one word

durability durability

lasts forever

source source

the Internet

time to impact time to impact

pretty much there and then

size of audience size of audience

one-on-one or in a group

possible health risk possible health risk

none that we know of

reusable how many times you can use it

once per person or group of people

training needed training needed

works right away

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