The Spanish alphabet

The alphabet

The Spanish alphabet has 27 letters:


B (be) 

C (ce) 

D (de) 


F (efe)

G (ge) 

H (hache) 


J (jota) 

K (ka) 

L (ele)

M (eme) 

N (ene) 

Ñ (eñe) 


P (pe) 

Q (cu)

R (erre) 

S (ese) 

T (te) 


V (uve) 

W (uve doble)

X (equis) 

Y (i griega) 

Z (zeta)


  • B & V sound the same, like a soft B. Beber = Vivir.
  • CH & LL are consonants phonetically (they have their own sound: llave, chapa…)
  • H is silent: hablar and hombre are pronounced /ablar/, /ombre/.
  • K & W are not common; they are only used for borrowed words: whisky, katana…
  • R has two sounds:
    • Strong (rolling!), when it is either at the beginning of a word, doubled, or placed after N, L or S: Rata, carro, sonrisa…
    • Soft, when it is in the middle or the end of a word and not doubled: cara, para, por…
  • Y has two sounds:
    • Vowel, when it is at the end of a word or by itself (y = and), it sounds like I: hoy, estoy…
    • Consonant, in every other scenario: yo, hoyo…

Letters with special behaviors

C, Q, Z and S

  • C sounds /k/ with A, O and U, and /θ/ or /s/ with E and I.
  • We use QU to obtain the sound /k/ with E and I.
  • The sound /θ/ is used only in Spain. In the rest of the world za, ce, ci, zo, zu would be pronounced /sa, se, si, so, su/. In Spain, it would be pronounced /θa, θe, θi, θo, θu/.

In Spanish, we don't really use Z with vowels E and I.

Some words to pronounce

Queso, cuco, zapato, cereza, zueco, caza, casa.

Translation: Cheese, cuckoo, shoe, cherry, clog, hunting, house.

J and G

  • J sounds /x/ with all vowels, G sounds /g/ with A, O and U and /x/ with E and I.
  • We place a U after the G to obtain the sound /g/ with E and I.

Some words to pronounce

Jarabe, jefe, gerente, gato, gente, ginebra, guerra, guitarra, jilguero.

Translation: Syrup, boss, manager, cat, people, gin, war, guitar, goldfinch.

Whenever we need the U between G and E or between G and I to be pronounced, we need to add a diéresis (¨) on top of it: pingüino, lingüística.

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