An important part of giving personal information is saying your name in English. But English alphabet pronunciation can be difficult – which means it’s not always easy to say and spell your name in English. Here are some tips to help you.
Asking for your name
Here are some questions you can get about your name (before someone asks you to spell it):
“What’s your name?”
“What’s your first name?” / “What’s your surname?”
“Can I have your name please?”
“Can you give me your name, please?”
(And after you give your name):
“Can you spell that for me, please?”
“How do you spell that?”
“What’s the spelling?”
Giving the spelling of your name
You can reply to a question about the spelling of your name with:
“Sure! That’s spelt (or “spelled”)…”
English alphabet pronunciation
A (rhymes with “day”)
B (sounds like “be”)
C (rhymes with B)
D (rhymes with B)
E (rhymes with B)
F (sounds like “eff)
G (sounds like dj-ee where the first part rhymes with B)
H (sounds like “ay – tch” where the first part rhymes with “day”)
I (sounds like “eye” or “I”)
J (sounds like dj-ay where the first part rhymes with “day”)
K (sounds like “c-ay” where the first part rhymes with “day”)
L (sounds like “ell”)
M (sounds like “emm”)
N (sounds like “enn”)
O (sounds like “oh”)
P (rhymes with B)
Q (sounds like “ky-oo” and rhymes with “you”)
R (sounds like “arr”)
S (sounds like “ess”)
T (rhymes with B)
U (sounds like “you”)
V (sounds like “vee” and rhymes with B)
W (sounds like “double you”)
X (sounds like “eks”)
Y (sounds like “why”)
Z (sounds like “zed” or “zee” in American English)
To hear the English alphabet pronunciation, click here:
Be careful with the pronunciation of vowels:
When you say these five vowels in order, you can notice that A starts at the top of your mouth, E is a little lower and further back, and so on. U is the lowest sound and the furthest back in your mouth.
Also be careful with:
R (arr – the sound you make when you open your mouth for the dentist)
W (double you)
English alphabet pronunciation doesn’t change much between English speakers. The only real difference is “z” which is pronounced “zed” in British English, and “zee” in American English.
English spelling help
1. If there are two letters the same, we say “double”:
“My name is Ella. That’s spelt E, double L, A.”
2. You can help the other person by giving a word beginning with the same letter:
“That’s E for “every“, L for “London” and A for “apple“.
Remember to introduce the word with “for“.
You can use any common English word, not necessarily place names. We often use names of animals and food.
3. Say if your name is difficult to spell or pronounce.
“It’s quite difficult to spell!”
“It’s a foreign name.”
“I use the French spelling of my name, so it’s C-L-A-I-R-E, not C-L-A-R-E.”
4. Explain each part of your name.
Some people have more than one first name and one surname. Here are some things you can say to explain your name:
An initial is when you use just the letter of a middle (or second) name in your full name. In the example below, John Stevens has a middle name beginning with H (maybe it’s Henry, but we don’t know for sure):
“My name is John H. Stevens. So that’s John (“J_O_H_N”), initial “H”, Stevens “(S-T-E-V-E-N-S”).
The pronunciation of “initial” is /ih-nih-shul/.
A double barrel is when you have two surnames joined together. Sometimes they’re joined by a hyphen (-) and sometimes they’re separate. (We call both these types a “double-barrelled surname”.)
“My name is Stella Green-Lewis. That’s Stella (“S-T-E-L-L-A”) Green-Lewis. G-R-E-E-N hyphen L-E-W-I-S.”
“The Director’s name is Susan Erikson Landers. That’s Susan Erikson (“E-R-I-K-S-O-N”) Landers (“L-A-N-D-E-R-S”). Both names are separate, by the way.”
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