Blogging from A to Z: A is for...Alphabet

Before your eyes roll back into your skull with boredom, let me ask you a question:

Did you know there used to be 27 letters in the alphabet?

Did you know in Ye Olde Tea not a thing?

Did you know that people are pushing for NEW letters of the alphabet?

No? Well, read on my friend...

27th Letter of the alphabet

Today's emoticon-heavy, text messaging generation fully understand the benefits of brevity and a good smiley. This is not a new thing.

Not so long ago, in the middle 1800's, English speakers used 27 letters of the alphabet. After Z came & (ampersand)

So why is
& called ampersand and not just and?

When the alphabet was recited, with & after Z, it would sound confusing...

W, X, Y, Z, and and.

Instead, it was spoken like this: W, X, Y, Z and per se and. Per se meaning "by itself" Over the years, "and per se and" was smooshed together and became ampersand.

So, for a while & was the 27th letter of the alphabet.


Ye isn't a thing because much like & a letter existed to replace the Th in "the". It was called THORN and looks like this: Þ

Basically, shoddy penmanship is to blame for the confusion and creation of Ye. Really it's just The Olde Tea Shoppe.

Evolving alphabet

The English language is forever evolving. Some believe text messaging and the computer age will kill of English completely as we substitute every word and feeling with a string of emoticons. However, in the meantime we are slowly adapting to other changes... @ for example. @ started life as an accounting symbol meaning "at a rate of"

Nowadays, if you have a computer, you probably have an email like this:

Hopefully you chose a better name than that. However, there you see @ being used as AT.

Twitter is built around the @username idea and it's creeping further into day to day use.

Soon our alphabet might include some old favorites like & and some newbies like @.

That was A in the A to Z Blog Challenge. Come back tomorrow for B. And in the meantime go to
 and check out some of the other bloggers.



  1. Really "and per se and" became ampersand? That's a pretty good tall tale, if it's not. I enjoyed this post a lot, thank you very much.
    Take 25 to Hollister

  2. No tall tales here...even though it's April 1st :) Thanks for stopping by.

  3. I had NO idea & was once a letter. That's crazy!

    Good luck with the 2015 A to Z Challenge!
    A to Z Co-Host S. L. Hennessy

  4. Hey there! Just stoppin' by to say hi to a fellow A to Z'er. Love to read about the alphabet. Always been a word guy. I'm sure I'll be stoppin' by again.

    See ya 'round the web.

    Kevyn Knox, A to Z #350
    All Things Kevyn

  5. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  6. This was really interesting.
    The Welsh alphabet has 28 letters. I think I wrote about it for A to Z a couple of years ago. lol


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