English alphabet

The modern English alphabet is a Latin alphabet consisting of 26 letters, each having an upper- and lower-case form. It originated around the 7th century from Latin script. Since then, letters have been added or removed to give the current Modern English alphabet of 26 letters with no diacritics, digraphs, nor special characters. The word alphabet is a compound of the first two letters of the Greek alphabet, alpha and beta.

English alphabet
An English pangram displaying all the characters in context, in Dax Regular typeface.
Script type
Time period
c.1500 to present
LanguagesEnglish
Related scripts
Parent systems
Child systems
ISO 15924
ISO 15924Latn, , Latin
Unicode
Unicode alias
Latin
U+0000 to U+007E Basic Latin and punctuation
 This article contains phonetic transcriptions in the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA). For an introductory guide on IPA symbols, see Help:IPA. For the distinction between [ ], / / and  , see IPA § Brackets and transcription delimiters.

The exact shape of printed letters varies depending on the typeface (and font), and the standard printed form may differ significantly from the shape of handwritten letters (which varies between individuals), and cursive especially.

Written English has a large number of digraphs. It stands out almost uniquely as a European language without diacritics in native words. A diaeresis may be used to distinguish two vowels with separate pronunciation, such as "coöperation",[nb 1] from a double vowel.[1] Very occasionally, a grave may be used to indicate that a normally silent vowel is pronounced (as in learnèd, an adjective).