All languages which I know other than English have names for letters which can be written as words. Does English have them, and what are they? I haven't seen them anywhere, but they are not something used often because just the letters can be used in their stead.

My Idea is that the letters could be these (written with their names as words):
A, Be, Ce, De, E, Ef, Ge, Hach, I, Jay, Ka, El, Em, En, O, Pe, Qu, Er, Es, Te, U, Ve, Double U, Ex, Wy, Zed

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    Wikipedia: English alphabet § Letter names
    – wjandrea
    Sep 14, 2023 at 14:02
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    Does this answer your question: ell.stackexchange.com/questions/414/…
    – Leachoid
    Sep 14, 2023 at 14:22
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    I'm not impressed by that Wikipedia page. It specifically mentions Plurals of vowel names also take -es (i.e., aes, ees, ies, oes, ues), but these are rare. So rare, in fact, that I doubt I've ever seen any of them (and without a clear-cut context, I wouldn't understand them). But I often use and encounter a's, e's, i's, o's, u's - none of which are mentioned on that page. Sep 14, 2023 at 14:25
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    Letters are usually referred to by using the letter itself in writing, but each does have a pronunciation. M is pronounced "em". It would be quite unusual to use a letter's pronunciation as a word in writing. I suggest you don't do this. There may be some exceptions like the words "aitch" and "zed", but even those are quite rare.
    – Billy Kerr
    Sep 14, 2023 at 16:30
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    Most European languages using the Latin alphabet don't have names for letters, with few exceptions, e.g. "Jota" 'Spanish J, "Eszett" (ẞ in German).
    – Graffito
    Sep 14, 2023 at 17:56

1 Answer 1


English letters certainly do have names, that is, commonly accepted ways of referring to them as letters. Usually we just write the letter, possibly in quotes, and rely on the reader to know how to pronounce it.

There is no standard spelling for these names. As an American I pronounce them a (long a), bee, see, dee, ee (long e), ef, gee, aitch, eye, jay, kay, el, em, en, oh, pea, queue, are, es, tee, you, vee, double-you, ex, why, and zee.

Brits pronounce the last letter "zed". Americans call it "zee". That's the only difference I know of.

  • "haitch" is heard in some British and Hiberno English dialects. Sep 15, 2023 at 13:11
  • @TimR Good point, yes, I forgot about that.
    – Jay
    Sep 15, 2023 at 15:29

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