The English Alphabet
The English alphabet is the 1st place for students to start when learning English. The alphabet consists of 26 letters that each have a phonetic sound.
Luckily, we do not use diacritics in English, unless we are using a foreign word. So, the pronunciation is rather straightforward.
We use the letter names when spelling, typing, and using initialisms. We'll cover those later on.
Each letter has two forms, an uppercase and a lowercase letter. The appearance or look of each letter can differ based on what typeface is used. The examples below are the typical look of a sans-serif font:
We have UPPERCASE LETTERS (A B C), and we have lowercase letters (a b c).
We use UPPERCASE LETTERS to capitalize words.
We capitalize the first letter of the first word in a sentence:
My father lives in another town.
The doctor was friendly.
Yesterday was my first day at my new job.
There are several capitalization rules which we will learn more about later.
Why Should I learn the Alphabet?
A letter in the alphabet is the basic building block of a word. A word is the basic building block of a sentence. And of course, a sentence is the basic building block of a paragraph.
Each letter has a name and a sound (phonic). The letter name is often used in spoken English when we are spelling out a word (like our name) or using abbreviations known as initialisms.
An initialism is an abbreviation (shortened word or phrase) that consists of the first or initial letter of each word. Rather than using the phonetic sounds, we use the letter name to pronounce each individual letter.
These initialisms are often mispronounced by intermediate to even advanced students. So it's important to review the alphabet video (above) every so often to perfect your pronunciation.
- A.M. or a.m.
- P.M. or p.m.
The verb contract means to decrease in size or number. A contraction is the shortened version of a word or a combination of words.
- I am = I'm
- She is = She's
- He is = He's
- It is = It's
- They are = They're
- We are = We're
- Do not go = Don't go
An acronym is an abbreviation that is pronounced as a word or a name rather than each individual letter.