Spelling and Numbers

Just as there is stress in words or phrases, there is intonation in spelling and numbers. Americansseem to spell things out much more than other people. In any bureaucratic situation, you'll be asked to spell names and give all kinds of numbers—your phone number, your birth date, and so on. Thereis a distinct stress and rhythm pattern to both spelling and numbers—usually in groups of three or four letters or numbers, with the stress falling on the last member of the group. Acronyms (phrases that are represented by the first letter of each word) and initials are usually stressed on the last letter. Just listen to the words as I say them, then repeat the spelling after me.

Acronym Pronunciation

IBM Eye Bee Em

MIT Em Eye Tee

Ph.D. Pee Aitch Dee

MBA Em Bee εi

LA Eh Lay

IQ Eye Kyu

RSVP Are Ess Vee Pee

TV Tee Vee

USA You Ess εi

ASAP εi Ess εi Pee

CIA See Eye εi

FBI Eff Bee Eye

USMC You Ess Em See

COD See Oh Dee

SOS Ess Oh Ess

X,Y, Z Ex, Why, Zee

Spelling Pronunciation

Box Bee Oh Ex

Cook See Oh Oh Kay

Wilson Dubba You Eye El, Ess Oh En

Numbers Pronunciation

Area Code 213

Zip Code 94708

Date 9/6/62

Phone Number 555-9132

Comment Stream