How high can you count on your fingers?

Once an Indian girl had to introduce an Englishman who had called at her home to some Asian female friends. The problem was that the women were Japanese, and if this was known, she would be arrested in an instant. So she concealed their nationality and said that they were Chinese.

The Englishman harbored some doubt, and he called upon them to ‘try counting with your fingers, up to five’. They started with their hands open, bending their thumb and fingers one by one. Which seemed a doozy and this is how it started, but later on across the world, there are 27 types of counting methods using the fingers and there are various methods for starting to count one using either the index finger, thumb, or little finger?

Japanese had a tradition of beginning to count with ‘paper’, and counting “one, two, three” by bending down first the thumb and then each finger one after another. This goes as far as having the finger-folding counting in Japanese, so it is believed that this counting method has been used in Japan for a very long time.

How high can you count with fingers? we obviously possess the answer cause most of us have 10 fingers. So this means that your highest count is 10. No, let me spill the beans.



Cleave each finger into three sections with a natural pointer to indicate each one, thumb. Now start counting each section of each finger with the help of your thumb, you’ll easily get the count of 12 on one hand. Let’s go higher, use the digits on the other hand to keep track of each time we can go even get 24, 36, and up to 60, Similarly use the sections on the second hand and count 12 groups of 12 up to 144. Following these steps can get you up to 576.

Even higher?

Having the system of positional notation, where the symbols cater’s divergent magnitudes of value like 999, where the same symbol is repeated 3 times, where each position specifies a different order of magnitude. Now use the positional value on fingers by looking at the two options up and down per finger and prefer a counting system that uses powers of two a.k.a binary in which each position has double the value of the previous one like 1,2,4,8,16,32,64,128,256,512, assigning each of these digits to the fingers and knowing that any integer up to a certain limit can be expressed as a sum of these numbers eg, 4+2+1=7, and so on up to the number with all ten fingers raised.

Do you feel dexterous?

When you can bend each finger give us three divergent states

  • down
  • half bent
  • raised

There is also a base-three positional system up to 60,000. The further you bend your fingers into 4 or 5 or even more states you can go higher.

The five separate fingers are independent units. Close them and the fist multiplies strength.

Read More

Related Articles


For Worksheets & PrintablesJoin Now