How do you likely to say for non-English speaker to use letters from the English alphabet (e.g. to write down something or to create a nickname)?

Do you say use Latin letters or English letters?


2 Answers 2


The technical term for the alphabet used to write English is Latin alphabet. The English alphabet, technically, would be the one used to write Old and Middle English, which contained some additional letters like the thorn (þ) and eth (Ð). Those letters fell out of use with the rise of the printing press, which normally only had the Latin alphabet available.

An alternative for technical uses, like selecting a user name, would be alphanumeric characters. This refers to the letters of the Latin alphabet and Arabic numerals.

  • So you would say in such case use Latin letters? Alphanumeric is well, but I am curious about how the letters are exactly called.
    – Gamilato
    Commented Oct 24, 2018 at 6:33
  • 1
    @Gamilato Yes, "Latin letters" or "Latin alphabet" are the correct terms. A native speaker should recognise either term. "Alphanumeric" is actually defined as "a character set containing both Latin letters and Arabic numerals".
    – Werrf
    Commented Oct 24, 2018 at 10:41

You could say

Please use the letters A to Z (from the Latin alphabet).

If you need to specify a code-point range to be very precise, specify the codepoint range in Unicode, or you could refer to the letters "in the ASCII range".

  • I don't really need to use it, but simply wondering how would they be called properly by English speakers.
    – Gamilato
    Commented Oct 24, 2018 at 6:30
  • You would really need to identify the specific needs of the context. You also added a challenge by asking how you would say this to a "non-English speaker". So I don't really know what you meant by "properly".
    – TimR
    Commented Oct 24, 2018 at 9:44
  • There is not any context, just asking what native speakers call the writing system they use. That is why I asked about how you would refer to it to non-English speaker. Because there are really few cases when English speakers need to name somehow the letters they use.
    – Gamilato
    Commented Oct 24, 2018 at 10:21
  • What does "to non-English speakers" have to do with it then? Why do you even include that phrase in your question?
    – TimR
    Commented Oct 24, 2018 at 10:58
  • I often use and hear this phrase as non-English speaker, because we need to define what writing system we has to use in particular cases (e.g. for creating a password or filling a foreign form, I am often asked to use the Latin alphabet).
    – Gamilato
    Commented Oct 24, 2018 at 14:44

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