I don't understand why my code returns 1?

I understand that I could append an empty list to get this count. But why does this not work?
Thanks for any assistance!

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Line 7 should not be inside the loops. Set it before the outer loop.

This returns an answer of 1 for both words. When I set the return statement inline with the out loop it returns basically a letter count of both words.
Thanks!!

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The return statement needs to unindented so it is outside of the outer loop.

I tried that several times but got an indent error.
I went ahead and re-wrote the function to return the length of a list of unique letters. That is working.
Perhaps there was a basic error in the way I was approaching the problem.
Thanks again for your input!

You might have been on the right track before my first post. I got waylaid by the letter_count variable. This function should return a list of characters.

For instance, mississippi contains misp. The function should compose a list of letters, not count them.