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Counting

** Counting ** is the action of finding the number of elements of a [finite set] of objects. The traditional way of counting consists of continually increasing a (mental or spoken) counter by a unit for every element of the set, in some order, while marking (or displacing) those elements to avoid visiting the same element more than once, until no unmarked elements are left; if the counter was set to one after the first object, the value after visiting the final object gives the desired number of elements. Counting is also used (primarily by children) to demonstrate knowledge of the [number names] and the [number] system. The term * counting * can be used to mean the same as [enumeration] , i.e., determining the number of elements of a [finite] (combinatorial) [set] in some manner, not necessarily by explicitly counting in the above sense.

Counting sometimes involves numbers other than one; for example, when counting money, counting out change, when ** "counting by twos" ** (2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12…) or when ** "counting by fives" ** (5, 10, 15, 20, 25…).

There is archeological evidence suggesting that humans have been counting for at least 50,000 years. Counting was primarily used by ancient cultures to keep track of economic data such as debts and capital (i.e., [accountancy] ).

The development of counting led to the development of [mathematical notation] and [numeral system] s.

** Forms **

Counting can occur in a variety of forms.

Counting can be verbal; that is, speaking every number out loud (or mentally) to keep track of progress. This is often used to count objects that are present already, instead of counting a variety of things over time.

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