Odd Letters


Odd Letters section asks you to point out a group of letters that don’t fit. “Pick the odd one out!”. Questions based on Odd letters are asked in many banking exams like IBPS, SBI and even SSB. In these questions usually, an odd number of letters are given that have a relation or form elements of a given set. The task is to find the one that doesn’t belong.

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Odd Letters

We will work out many examples here and try and develop a sense of solving these types of questions. But first, let us write down the alphabet in a way that can be convenient later on.

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

So what did we do? Well, we have assigned each letter a number starting from A and done that in the reverse. These numbers will help us identifying patterns and solve questions.

Browse more Topics under Classification

Type I Problems

Odd Letters


Question 1: Choose the odd letters: XW, FG, ML, PO, TS.

  1. XW
  2. FG
  3. ML
  4. PO
  5. TS

Answer: All the letters either follow or precede each other. But in FG the natural order is followed which is not the case in other options. Hence, given the nature of the options, we will have to select B) FG.

Question 2:  Classify the following words:

  1. JLOS
  2. GHIM
  3. HJMQ
  4. PRUY

Answer: If you take a look at the detailed table that we have prepared, you will find the answer in a second. The rule is simple in JLOS, the first two letters i.e. J and L have a gap of one letter, then L and O have 2 letter gaps, and finally followed by a 3 letter gap between the last two letters. GHIM doesn’t show this pattern and therefore is the odd one from the group.

Odd Words

Type II – Awareness Based Questions

Although in the reasoning ability test, you will mostly have to figure out number relations between different groups of numbers, still there is a second class of questions that are as likely to appear like the previous one. Let us consider some examples:

Question 1: Choose the odd one out:

  1. Ukraine
  2. Kazakhstan
  3. Turkey
  4. Afghanistan

Answer: The options are related to the rule that they each are a European country except Afghanistan, which is an Asian country. Hence the odd one from the above countries will be D) Afghanistan.

Question 2: Choose the one that doesn’t fit:

  1. Appreciate
  2. Admonish
  3. Applaud
  4. Admire

Answer: Appreciate, Applaud and Admire mean the same thing. However admonish means to scold, rebuke and reprimand which is the opposite of appreciating. Hence the odd word here is B) Admonish.

Question 3: Choose the odd letters:

  1. Corrosive
  2. Mordant
  3. Abrasive
  4. Assuage

Answer: Corrosive, Mordant, and Abrasive mean the same thing. On the other hand, assuage means to heal and soothe which is the opposite of the other three terms. Hence the word that doesn’t fit the description is Assuage.

Type III – Words Pairs

In this type of questions, you will be given words in pairs and asked to pick the pair that doesn’t fit the rule that is obeyed by the other three. Let us see some examples.

Question 1: In the following question, four pairs of words are given out of which the words in three pairs are related in some way and words in one pair are different. Find out that pair which is differently related.

  1. Pen and Nib.
  2. Water and Bucket
  3. Ink and Inkpot
  4. Oil and Lamp

Answer: Lamp contains oil. Similarly, water is inside a bucket and ink is inside an inkpot. However, pen and nib are not related by the same rule. Therefore, the option to be picked here is A) Pen and Nib.

Question 2: In the following question, four pairs of words are given out of which the words in three pairs are related in some way and words in one pair are different. Find out that pair which is differently related.

  1. Conchology — shells
  2. Cosmology — universe
  3. Criminology — crime
  4. Apiology — insects

Answer: The relation here is that the branch of studies is followed by the term that is studied in it. That is the technical term for the study of the universe is cosmology. Similarly, the technical terms for the study of the shells and crime are conchology and criminology, respectively. However, apiology is the study of bees. Although some might argue that bees are insects but the relation is not the same as that of the other three, hence the option that has to be struck out is D) Apiology.

As we have said earlier, the more you practice, the better you will get at reasoning ability. Check your understanding by trying the following questions.

Solve Classification-Practice Questions here in detail

Practice Questions

Q 1: Find the odd number:

  1. 512
  2. 625
  3. 1296
  4. 2401

Ans: A) 512

Q 2: Find the odd number/letters from the given alternatives.

  1. Swimming
  2. Sailing
  3. Diving
  4. Driving

Ans: D) Driving

Q 3: Find out the one that doesn’t fit:

  1. 1, 2, 4, 8
  2. 2, 6, 10, 14
  3. 3, 9, 15, 21
  4. 7, 21, 35, 49

Ans: A) 1, 2, 4, 8

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