An alphabet is a set of letters or symbols that we use to represent the basic speech sounds of a language in writing.
This page looks at writing the English alphabet. You can read about pronouncing the English alphabet here.
Letters of the English Alphabet
The English alphabet has 26 letters, starting with a and ending with z. Below you see the whole alphabet.
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
Small and Large Letters
We can write each letter of the English alphabet as a "small letter" (abc) or as a "large letter" (ABC). Large letters are also called "capital letters" or "capitals".
Below you see the whole alphabet with small letters on the left and capitals on the right:
a A b B c C d D e E f F g G h H i I j J k K l L m M n N o O p P q Q r R s S t T u U v V w W x X y Y z Z
Printed letters of the alphabet come in different styles or designs. Each style is called a "font". This page shows all 26 characters, as small and large letters, in 5 different styles. Each column displays a different font style, in this order:
- Serif: with serifs, or little projections, at the end of most strokes
- Fixed-width: like old typewriter lettering - each letter is about the same width, so "i" takes up the same space as "w"
- Sans-serif: with no serifs
- Cursive: like handwriting
- Fantasy: fancy, artistic
The English alphabet starts with the letter a and finishes with the letter z. We always write the alphabet in the same order:
This order is called "alphabetical order". We often write lists in alphabetical order. For example, to write a list of countries in alphabetical order, we start with countries that begin with the letter A, then with countries that begin with B, and so on. For example:
If more than one word begins with the letter A, we put them in order based on the second letter, and then the third letter, and so on:
We use alphabetical order for many things, for example:
- indexes of books
- telephone directories