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Letter names

Each letter of the English alphabet can be spelled as itself (e.g., a DJ or T-shirt) or it can be spelled out using its name (e.g., a deejay or tee-shirt). Vowels still stand for themselves, and while very rare, the plural of vowels are made by adding -es. In the capitalized form the plurals are made by either -s or -‘s (e.g., L’s or As).

Spelling letters usually occurs in compound names or derivatives. These spellings are different than the phonetic alphabet used to distinguish similar sounding letters while speaking.

We have included each letter with its name and plural below the list of examples. The United States uses zee, while other countries use zed.


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Examples

At the end of the rail line there was a wye that would get him and his hunting pals turned around and headed back to town. [Oxford American]

We then cautiously entered a haunted el train that took us right into the heart of the haunt. [Chicago Now]

The emcee kickstarts the event with a slogan in Chinese: “Critical Moment, Long-term Occupy!” [South China Morning Post]

Borrowing from beauty pageants, the two emcees asked questions of the performers: What is the role of parents in ending restavek? [KPCW]

Here’s David Gutnick’s documentary, That’s Cheezies with a Zed. [CBC]

 

 A

a aes
 B  bee bees
 C  cee cees
 D  dee dees
 E  e ees
 F  ef (verbal eff) efs (effs)
 G  gee gees
 H  aitch aitches
 I i ies
 J jay jays
 K kay kays
 L el or ell els or ells
 M  em ems
 N en ens
 O o oes
 P pee pees
 Q cue cues
 R ar ars
 S ess (es as prefix) esses
 T  tee  tees
 U u ues
 V vee vees
 W double-u double-ues
 X ex exes
 Y wy or wye wyes
 Z zee or zed zees or zeds
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