Letter Names in the English Alphabet and How to Spell Them

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).

Letters also have a specific sound associated with them, and not only can you spell them phonetically to sound the same as you pronounce them, but you should also be familiar with the different phonetic spellings of their sound. Take a look at how you can spell each letter sound out. 

You can skip ahead to our chart here.

How Do You Spell The Letter A Sound?

Many words use the long A /(ˈ/ˈiː/) sound using the letter a. For example: acorn, agent, data

It can also be spelled:

  • A-E: a in the middle of the word, with e at the end as in grade or snake
  • AI: aim, train
  • AY: delay, essay
  • EI: eight, vein
  • EA: great, steak

How Do You Spell The Letter B Sound?

B (/ˈbiː/) is used in one of two ways.

  • B: bank, baby, bassinet
  • BB: babbling, shrubbery, gibberish

How Do You Spell The Letter C Sound?

C (/ˈsiː/ ) is a tricky letter since it has more than one pronunciation and doesn’t sound as its letter unless you spell it as sea or see. 

  • Pronounce the letter “C” as an “S” sound if the letter “C” is followed by the letters “E”, “I”, or “Y”. For example: city or central
  • Pronounce the letter “C” as a “K” sound if the letter “C” is followed by the letters “A”, “O”, or “U”. For example: candy or cut

How Do You Spell The Letter D Sound?

D (/ˈdiː/) has three different spellings.

  • D: advertising, deed, disappear
  • ED: created, forced, freed
  • DD: odd, eddy, forbidding

How Do You Spell The Letter E Sound?

Many words use the long E /(ˈeɪ/) sound using the letter e. For example: he, she, we.

It can also be spelled:

  • EA: sea
  • EE: seen, see
  • EI: receive, either
  • IE: belief, piece
  • EO: people
  • EY: alley, journey
  • Y: yearly
  • I: mini

How Do You Spell The Letter F Sound?

F (/ˈɛf/) is usually spelled with the letter f, as in fire, first, and family, but it also has some strange phonetic usages as well.

  • FF: bluff, cuff, different
  • PH: dolphin, photography, trophy
  • GH: tough, rough, enough

How Do You Spell The Letter G Sound?

G (/ˈdʒiː/) is usually spelled with the letter g, as in game, go, and garden. 

It can also be spelled

  • GG: egg, hogg, jagged
  • GUE: guest, league, rogue

How Do You Spell The Letter H Sound?

H (/ˈeɪtʃ/) is usually spelled with the letter h, as in horror, human, and house. 

It also has some different spellings as well, such as:

  • WH: who
  • J: Jose (a formal name with Spanish origins)

How Do You Spell The Letter I Sound?

Many words use the long I /(ˈ/ˈaɪ/) sound using the letter i or y. For example: Friday, ice, idea, my, sky, or cry.

It can also be spelled:

  • I-E: i in the middle of the word, with e at the end as in kite or bite
  • AI: aisle
  • EI: heist, meiser
  • EIGH: height
  • EYE: eye, eyelash
  • EY: geyser
  • IE: lie, pie
  • UY: guy, buy
  • YE: bye, dye
  • IGH: mighty, high

How Do You Spell Letter The J Sound?

J (/ˈdʒeɪ/) is usually spelled with the letter j, as in jury, adjust, and Jason. 

It also has some different spellings as well, such as:

  • G: page, cage, gentle
  • DGE: pledge, judge
  • AGE: garage, mirage
  • GG: exaggeration
  • D: gradual, educator

How Do You Spell The Letter K Sound?

K (/ˈkeɪ/) is usually spelled with the letter K or C, as in make, take, kind, basic, and cat. 

It also has some different spellings as well, such as:

  • CC: impeccable
  • CK: back, pluck, check
  • QUE: plague, queue
  • QUI: mosquito, turquoise
  • QU: quick, quit
  • CH: chord, mechanic, chemical

How Do You Spell The Letter L Sound?

To spell the L (/ˈɛl/) sound, you simply use L or LL. For example: elephant, later, letter, well, sell.

How Do You Spell The Letter M Sound?

The M (/ˈɛm/) sound is almost always spelled using m or mm, such as in example, metal, meal, commercial, or bummer. 

It can also be spelled using:

  • MB: comb, limb, tomb
  • GM: phlegm, diaphragm
  • MN: column, autumn

How Do You Spell The Letter N Sound?

The N (/ˈɛn/) sound is almost always spelled using n or nn, such as in any, enemy, no, innocent, or annoying. 

It can also be spelled using: 

  • KN: knit, knife
  • GN: gnome, gnat
  • PN: pneumatic, pneumonia

How Do You Spell The Letter O Sound?

O (/ˈəʊ/) has many different spellings. Most obvious is with the long O or OO, as in no, go, most, floor, or brooch. 

It can also be spelled using:

  • O-E: o in the middle of the word, with e at the end as in robe or smoke
  • OE: toe 
  • OA: oat, boat, toast
  • OW: snow, slow
  • OU: out, sprout, shoulder
  • OT: depot
  • AU: chauffer
  • EW: sew
  • EAU: beau, bureau
  • AOH: pharaoh
  • OUGH: dough, although

How Do You Spell The Letter P Sound?

To spell the P (/ˈpiː/) sound, you simply use p or pp. For example: paper, peep, happy, pepper, or cheap.

How Do You Spell The Letter Q Sound?

Q (/ˈkjuː/) is another tricky letter in that the letter q is never used as a stand-alone and always is followed by the letter u. Together qu sounds like the letters KW together. To hear the letter use it in the word queue. 

How Do You Spell The Letter R Sound?

R (/ˈɑː/) is almost always spelled with the letter r or rr, as in rabbit, run, right, correct, or arrest.

It can also be spelled with:

  • WR: write, wrong, wrist
  • RH: rhyme, rhinoceros

How Do You Spell The Letter S Sound?

S (/ˈɛs/) is often spelled with the letter s or ss, as in series, see, loose, essay, or embarrassment.

It can also be spelled with:

  • SC: muscle, science, scene
  • C: face, census, cellar
  • PS: psalm, psychology

How Do You Spell The Letter T Sound?

T (/ˈtiː/) is another letter that is spelled multiple ways. T and tt are most common as in talk, time, battle, or cattle. 

It also can be spelled with:

  • ED: cooked, liked
  • BT: debt, doubt
  • TW: two
  • TH: thyme, Thailand

How Do You Spell The Letter U Sound?

U (/ˈjuː/) has a few different spellings. It can be spelled using:

  • U-E: U in the middle of the word, with e at the end as in mule or cube
  • U: music
  • UE: ensue, issue
  • EU: feudal, eulogy
  • EW: few, pew

How Do You Spell The Letter V Sound?

To spell the V (/ˈv/) sound, you simply use v. For example: valentine, visit, move

How Do You Spell The Letter W Sound?

W (/ˈdʌbəl.juː/) is almost always spelled with the letter w, as in warrant, win, or worry. 

It can also be spelled with:

  • O: one, once
  • Wh: white, whale

How Do You Spell The Letter X Sound?

To spell the X ( /ˈɛks/) sound, you need to first combine it with an e, as in exit or excellent. Otherwise, it is pronounced in the following way:

  •  If the /X/ is between a vowel and consonant sound it is pronounced as /KS/, as in excel. 
  •  If the /X/ is between two vowel sounds it is pronounced as /GZ/, as in exam. 
  • If the letter X is at the beginning of a word, then it is pronounced Z, as in xerox.

How Do You Spell The Letter Y Sound?

Y (/ˈwaɪ/), pronounced as wy or why, usually uses the letter y as in yellow, year, or kayak. 

It can also be spelled with:

  • I: onion
  • EU: eulogy

How Do You Spell The Letter Z Sound?

Z (/ˈziː/) has a few different spellings, but utilizes z or zz often as in zero, zip,  buzz, or buzzard. It also can be spelled using:

  • SS: dessert, scissors
  • S: desert, was
  • STH: asthma
  • X: xylophone, xerox

Chart

To see specific examples of how a letter can be spelled exactly how it sounds, take a closer look at our phonetic chart. 

LetterSingular SoundPhonetic UseExamples of the Letter Sound in a word…
ay/ˈeɪ/day
bee/ˈbiː/beat
Ccee/ˈsiː/ sea
dee/ˈdiː/deal
ee/ˈiː/easy
eff/ˈɛf/effect
gee/ˈdʒiː/gene
aitch haitch/ˈeɪtʃ/ /ˈheɪtʃ/n/a n/a
i/ˈaɪ/eye
jay/ˈdʒeɪ/Jason
kay/ˈkeɪ/okay
el / ell/ˈɛl/,[ˈɛɫ]sell
em/ˈɛm/them
en/ˈɛn/then
o/ˈəʊ/go
pee/ˈpiː/peel
cue/ˈkjuː/queue
ar/ˈɑː/art
ess/ˈɛs/assess
tee/ˈtiː/teeball
u/ˈjuː/you
vee/ˈv/veer
double-u/ˈdʌbəl.juː/n/a
Xex/ˈɛks/excellent
wy/ˈwaɪ/Wyatt
Zzee/ˈziː/lazy

Let’s Review

Almost every letter can be spelled out exactly as they are pronounced, and most also have different ways to spell how they sound as well.  These are important rules to understand in order to properly spell out what you hear in a way that can be easily read and understood. 

Hopefully, this list explains the many different letter combinations that create various sounds, as well as how to reproduce the pronunciation of the letters themselves.

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