Word Counts In Contests

In regards to word counts for contests, are there rules for what constitutes a word such as “a”, “the,” etc? Two letters or less are not words, Or is basically everything that is typed considered a word.

Thank you.

In our quarterly 24-hour short story contest, we use MSWord’s word count function. However, different contests do it different ways so it would be best to ask each contest host just to be safe.