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Pronouncing the Alphabet

The alphabet is the set of 26 letters (from A to Z) that we use to represent English in writing:

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

It is very important to understand that the letters of the alphabet do NOT always represent the same sounds of English.

This page is about how we pronounce the letters of the alphabet when we "say the alphabet (ABC...)". In our Writing section you can learn more about how we write the letters of the alphabet.

The English word "alphabet" comes from the first two letters of the Greek alphabet: alpha, beta

Saying the Alphabet

Below, you can listen to how we say the letters of the alphabet. Remember, this is just for how we say the name of each letter. When we use the letters in words, they often have a different sound.

alphabet pronunciation

We say all the letters of the alphabet the same in British English and American English except for Z. In British English we say Zed. In American English we say Zee.

Alphabet Song

Listen as Jonathan Taylor sings the Alphabet Song For Rockers. Sing along if you like. The video has subtitles and there is a transcript below.

Transcript:
The Alphabet Song for Rockers
 
 A B C D E F G
 H I J K L M N O P
 Q R S -  T U V - W X Y
 And it's Zed NOT Zee
 
 A B C D E F G
 H I J K L M N O P
 Q R S - T U V - W X Y
 Zed NOT Zee
 
 Now you know your ABC
 Try again and sing with me
 one, two, three
 
 Here we go...
 
 A B C D E F G
 H I J K L M N O P
 Q R S - T U V - W X Y
 And it's Zed NOT Zee
 
 A B C D E F G
 H I J K L M N O P
 Q R S - T U V - W X Y
 Zed NOT Zee
 
 Now you know your ABC
 Try again and sing with me
 one, two, three  
Remember that Z is known as Zed in British English and Zee in American English.

Alphabet Sounds

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
(in alphabetical order)

The letters above (↑) are in normal "alphabetical order".

But the letters below (↓) are NOT in alphabetical order. They are in "sound order". They are grouped by sound. There are only 7 basic sounds for the whole alphabet. The letters in each column all have the same vowel sound. Listen to the alphabet sounds as we read them by column:

Alphabet Sounds