It is now common knowledge (well, if it is on Snopes, it must be common knowledge, right?) that Sherlock Holmes never said “Elementary, My Dear Watson”. But anyone who has read the books has probably noticed the word flit in and out of his speech.
So, in the canon text, how many times did Holmes say just the word “Elementary?”
This site has a pretty good selection of formats in which to download the canon works, thus making this a pretty easy question to answer.
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Only eight instances in total, which is rather fewer than I expected.
A Study in Scarlet:
Before turning to those moral and mental aspects of the matter which present the greatest
difficulties, let the enquirer begin by mastering more elementary problems.
A Case of Identity:
All this is amusing, though rather elementary, but I must go back to business, Watson.
The Crooked Man: (This is probably the closest Holmes comes to saying the misattributed phrase.)
As I perceive that your boots, although used, are by no means dirty, I cannot doubt that you are at present busy enough to justify the hansom.
“Excellent!” I cried.
“Elementary,” said he.
The Hound of the Baskervilles:
“Interesting, though elementary,” said he as he returned to his favourite corner of the settee.
The Hound of the Baskervilles again (and probably quotable in a Haskell book.):
The detection of types is one of the most elementary branches of knowledge to the special expert in crime, though I confess that once when I was very young I confused the Leeds Mercury with the Western Morning News.
The Adventure of Wisteria Lodge
With a spud, a tin box, and an elementary book on botany, there are instructive days to be spent.
The Disappearance of Lady Frances Carfax
“It belongs to the same elementary class of deduction which I should illustrate if I were to ask you who shared your cab in your drive this morning.”
The Blanched Soldier (only one of two stories narrated by Holmes, rather than Watson)
Still, elementary as it was, there were points of interest and novelty about it which may excuse my placing it upon record.
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