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A simple "ls" lists files *and* directories. So we need to "find" the files (type 'f') only.
As "find" is recursive by default we must restrict it to the current directory by adding a maximum depth of "1".
If you should be using the "zsh" then you can use the dot (.) as a globbing qualifier to denote plain files:
zsh> ls *(.) | wc -l
for more info see the zsh's manual on expansion and substitution - "man zshexpn".
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