The Difference Between Alphabet and Letter – A Little Grammar Tip

I do not want to sound too teacher-like with this post. But often there are some things about language that irks us when errors are made. Some of the common peeves that people have include others not knowing the difference between “your” and “you’re”. Some others get irritated when people say “scotch” when they mean “whiskey” (I am not too familiar with the difference between the two, so will probably read about that later).
One of my grammar/language-related peeves is when people use the word “alphabets” when they actually mean “letters”. I was somewhat irked when one of our country’s well-known (in some circles) bloggers recently tweeted “The alphabets a, b, c, d blah blah.”
A, b, c etc are letters and the alphabet means the collection of the individual letters. In other words, each language has its own alphabet; the English alphabet (alphabet – singular) consists of twenty-six letters (letters – plural).
People get offended and argue with me when I point this out; so I hope there isn’t too much resentment against this post.
PS: Grammar is spelt with an A, not an E.


4 thoughts on “The Difference Between Alphabet and Letter – A Little Grammar Tip

  1. Indrani September 1, 2013 / 6:42 PM

    With so many regional languages and English a foreign language, it requires good amount of effort to gain mastery over at least one!
    I made a note of this.


  2. allresourceupdates September 3, 2013 / 1:37 PM

    Nice Explanation..But you know we Indians are so Proud of our English using skills that somehow if pointed a mistake it will hurt our pride and that is the case with most of Indians..
    For Ex-I saw a hotel menu card with a dish named Batter Paneer,now where on earth will you find Batter Paneer? For Most of us A and U ,A and E and all the likes are same.. 🙂


  3. Sreesha Divakaran September 3, 2013 / 5:26 PM

    @Indrani… I believe someone once said that English is no one's first language. Can't recall who it was, but he was probably right… English has too many rules with respect to syntax and grammar.


  4. Sreesha Divakaran September 3, 2013 / 5:28 PM

    @Harsha, Batter paneer! haha, now that's funny! Menus are often fun to read…
    As for pointing out mistakes, I don't think anyone would like it. Indians are no exception… 🙂


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