How does one say in English, “to make a stroke” (when counting objects)? The classic example is when you “make a stroke” for each year you've spent in prison. (I think that's called “fences”?)



1 Answer 1


I'm not 100% if I understand you correctly, but the verb that comes to my mind is to tally, such as he tallied each day that he was in prison. This sounds a bit British to me, but I'm sure most English speakers would understand it (for the record, I'm American). You could also use the word record, as in he recorded each day he was in prison, but this sound a bit more vague. Stroke is understandable in this context, but it sounds a bit weird to the ear.

I have no idea what you mean by fences.

  • @nmg49 The tallies referred to in my comment to the OP look a bit like fences, don't you think?
    – Livrecache
    Oct 18, 2017 at 12:38
  • Yes, I would use tally as a Brit.
    – Nigel J
    Oct 18, 2017 at 13:50
  • In the UK at least, it's common when counting in this way to make every fifth mark across the previous four, to make adding up the total easier. This is called a five-barred gate. Perhaps this is what the questioner meant by 'fences'? Oct 18, 2017 at 14:23

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