English Language Blog

What is a panagram? Posted by on Oct 14, 2012 in English Language

Take a look at the sentences below.  All of these sentences are panagrams.  I want you to try and figure out what a panagram is before I tell you.  All the information you need to know to figure out this riddle is below, but to help you out here are two more clues.

1. Panagrams exist in languages other than English, but not in all languages.  For example they do not exist in Mandarin Chinese, but they do exist in Portuguese.
2. There is one of every type of something in a panagram.

Example panagrams:
Pack my box with five dozen liquor jugs.
Heavy boxes perform quick waltzes and jigs.
Amazingly few discotheques provide jukeboxes.
Whenever the black fox jumped the squirrel gazed suspiciously.
Six big juicy steaks sizzled in a pan as five workmen left the quarry.
The job requires extra pluck and zeal from every young wage earner.
A mad boxer shot a quick, gloved jab to the jaw of his dizzy opponent.
No kidding, Lorenzo called off his trip to visit Mexico City just because they told him the conquistadors were extinct.

Have you figured out what a panagram is yet?  If you need more time, don’t read on, because the answer is just below.

The word panagram in English comes from the Greek words pan gramma, meaning “every letter.”  A pangram is a sentence that contains all the letters of the alphabet.   Sentences that includes the fewest repeat letters possible are considered the best panagrams, but these are hard to create, especially if you want the sentence to make sense.
Panagrams are often used to test different typefaces or fonts, test writing equipment, and develop skills in typing and handwriting.  Panagrams are good for these tasks because they use every letter of a particular alphabet.

The most famous panagram in English is “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.”  This panagram uses a total of 35 letters, which is pretty good as there are 26 letters in English.  So in this sentence there are only a few repeat letters.   This panagram has been used since at least the late 19th century by companies to test data communication equipment for accuracy and reliability.  Now this famous panagram is used by a number of computer programs (most notably the font viewer built into Microsoft Windows) to display different computer fonts.

For a real challenge you can try to come up with a panagram of your own in English.  If you do this, please post it to the comments section so we can all be amazed by your creativity.

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About the Author: Gabriele

Hi there! I am one of Transparent Language's ESL bloggers. I am a 32-year-old native English speaker who was born and raised in the United States. I am living in Washington, DC now, but I have lived all over the US and also spent many years living and working abroad. I started teaching English as a second language in 2005 after completing a Master's in Applied Linguists and a Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults' (CELTA). Since that time I have taught ESL in the United States at the community college and university level. I have also gone on to pursue my doctorate in psychology and now I also teach courses in psychology. I like to stay connected to ESL learners around the world through Transparent Languages ESL Blog. Please ask questions and leave comments on the blog and I will be sure to answer them.


  1. Huub:

    Hallo Gabriele,
    A panagram is a sentence where all letter of the alphabet are used !!

    The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog…..all letter of the alphabet are used as you can see.

    Huub Dolmans
    The Netherlands