The key difference between letter and alphabet is that letter is a symbol that represents a sound in its written form whereas alphabet is a set of letters arranged in a fixed order.
Most people assume the two words letter and alphabet to be the same; however, they are not the same. As mentioned above, there is a distinct difference between letter and alphabet. Letters are arranged in order inside the alphabet with each letter having a unique phonetic sound. Moreover, different languages around the world have their own letters and alphabets. The English language has an alphabet containing 26 letters.
What is a Letter?
A letter is a symbol we use to write a language, and it represents a sound in the language. In other words, it is a visual representation of the smallest unit of spoken sound. Moreover, a letter is a grapheme, i.e., the smallest unit in a system of writing a language that can express a difference in sound or meaning. Writing a language is impossible without letters. Therefore, every written language has letters.
Letters are the building blocks of any written language. Letters make words; words make sentences, and sentences make paragraphs. Moreover, different languages in the world have different letters. Let’s look at some examples of letters from various languages.
Latin – C, G, K, L, M, N, Z
Arabic – ﺍ, ﺵ , ﺽ, ﻁ ,ﻍ, ﻙ, ﻝ, ﻱ
Greek – Α, Γ, Δ, Η, Θ, Λ, Ξ, Σ, Ψ
What is an Alphabet?
An alphabet is a set of letters arranged in a fixed order that is used for a writing system. The English language has an alphabet with 26 letters. However, some languages have more than one alphabet. For example, the Japanese language has two alphabets: Kana and Kanji. Moreover, we can generally categorize the letters in the alphabet into two main groups as vowels and consonants.
The most popular alphabet in use at present is the Latin alphabet. Moreover, the Phoenician alphabet is considered to be the first alphabet in the world. It is the ancestor of most modern alphabets, including Arabic, Hebrew, Greek, Latin, and Cyrillic.
What is the Difference Between Letter and Alphabet?
A letter is a symbol that represents a sound in its written form whereas alphabet is a set of letters arranged in a fixed order. So, this is the key difference between letter and alphabet. Look at the following example to understand this difference between letter and alphabet more clearly.
Letters: C, H, Z
Alphabet: A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O, P, Q, R, S, T, U, V, W, X, Y, Z
Therefore, a letter is a single symbol within the alphabet whereas alphabet is the collection of letters in a fixed order.
Summary – Letter vs Alphabet
Letter is a symbol that represents a sound in its written form whereas alphabet is a set of letters arranged in a fixed order. Therefore, this is the key difference between letter and alphabet. In the English language, the alphabet is a writing system containing letters from A to Z. Thus, there are 26 letters in the English alphabet