The 27th Letter of the English Alphabet

My article for the Hindu College Literary Society blog. This was fun!


By Vartika Rastogi

Even kindergarteners – well, the smart ones, anyway – know that the alphabet used in the English language is made up of 26 letters. However, what most people aren’t aware of (unless they are major nerds, of course) is that there used to be a 27th letter out there before it got kicked out of the clan. Like senior citizens sent out on retirement for no good reason but old age; the Ampersand (&) started to lose its status as the last letter of the alphabet in the early 1800s. But let’s talk about its rise first and the fall later:

Back in the first century, Roman scribes were just as bad at practicing their cursive writing as we are today. Often, when they wrote the word ‘et’ – which means ‘and’ – they linked the individual letters e and t together. Over time…

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