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      • Native Language:
      • Hindi
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      • India
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    • Join Date: Aug 2008
    • Posts: 599
    #1

    Question "Alphabets" vs "Letters"

    Hello,

    Happy New Year to you all!

    I understand that an alphabet is a collection of letters. It is fairly common in India for people to say 'alphabets' when they mean 'letters'.

    In a situation where a website says that a search can be entered in an Indian language (script) or using "English alphabets", should this be "English letters"?

    I saw the following definitions of 'alphabet' on the Freedictionary:

    alphabet [ˈślfəˌbɛt]n1. a set of letters or other signs used in a writing system, usually arranged in a fixed order, each letter or sign being used to represent one or sometimes more than one phoneme in the language being transcribed
    2. any set of symbols or characters, esp one representing sounds of speech
    3. basic principles or rudiments, as of a subject
    Can it be said that to enter a query in 'English alphabet' is correct, taking into consideration #2 above? Or should it be 'English letters'?

    Thank you.

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • American English
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      • United States
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    • Join Date: Apr 2009
    • Posts: 12,310
    #2

    Re: "Alphabets" vs "Letters"

    It's really the Roman or Latin alphabet.

    One should say to use English letters or the English alphabet. You can't say "alphabets" because it is not plural.

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Hindi
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      • India
      • Current Location:
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    • Join Date: Aug 2008
    • Posts: 599
    #3

    Re: "Alphabets" vs "Letters"

    Thank you SoothingDave. :)

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