The Letter “Z” Will Be Removed from the English Alphabet

By Daniel Scocco - 1 minute read

background image 168

Surprising as it sounds, it looks like the English alphabet will be losing one of its letters on June 1st. The announcement came from the English Language Central Commission (ELCC).

Here is a quote from the press release:

After carefully considering and debating the matter for over two years, the ELCC came to the conclusion that the letter “Z” should be removed from the English alphabet. The main objective of this change is to simplify the phonetic aspect of the language, and to unify the American and British spellings.

What will happen to the words that have the letter “z” in them? It depends on the word. According to the ELCC, words that started with a “z” will now start with an “x”. Examples include:

  • zero becomes xero
  • zoo becomes xoo
  • zone becomes xone
  • zodiac becomes xodiac

Words that featured a “z” with the “s” sound, on the other hand, will now be officially written with the “s” (i.e., unifying the American and British spelling). Examples include:

  • visualize becomes visualise
  • analyze becomes analyse
  • materialize becomes materialise

What do you think about this change? Will it really simplify the English language, or will it make things more confusing?

Want to improve your English in 5 minutes a day? Click here to subscribe and start receiving our writing tips and exercises via email every day.

Recommended Articles for You


249 Responses to “The Letter “Z” Will Be Removed from the English Alphabet”

  • MS

    It must be an early April Fools joke.

  • David Blackstone

    …and a fairly obvious one at that 🙂

  • Miriam Robbins Midkiff

    What about people with the letter Z in their name?

  • Andy

    I’m not sure what to think on this one. I was leaning towards the thought of removing the letter X instead, making words like xylophone, xylene and xanadu easier to spell. However, words such as exit, exsist and exercise would look really strange as ezit,ezist and ezercise. Yet, I just can’t wrap my head around xone or xoo, the former looking too much like x-one and the latter reminding me of “kisses and hugs”.

  • Jeannine

    There’s no other explanation. This is a cruel April Fool’s joke. Shame on you!

  • Ray Ward

    What MS said in the first comment. It must already be April 1 in Britain or wherever the ELCC is.

  • jason Simmons

    First off, are you crazy. Yeah that word has a z in it. Is it gonna b craxy or crasy? And I like the question about people with z in their names. Who do you people think you are?

  • Paul

    http://www.Xero.com will appreciate this =]

  • Leah McClellan

    It sounds kind of sensible, but what about Scrabble? I mean, I count on that Z and those 10 points on a triple word score square. I guess they’ll have to faze/fase? out the old games with the Z? Maybe X will get 10 points instead of 8 now.

  • Jeff Watkins

    News alert — this just in: We need the letter ‘Z’.

  • Prashant Badiger

    Hmm……Sounds interesting. What if the last letter “Z” is removed from the alphabet. So what will we say to zebra? xebra or zoology as xoology. Oh god so much confusion!!! Truly speaking, the letter ‘x’ is used very less in any content, word or story. The word ‘amazing’ has a great punch, but how it will sound when we we say ‘amaxing’, neither the word will make any sense nor it will be accepted by the readers. The letter “Z” has a great significance and scope so I think removing it from the alphabet will be a wrong decision.

  • sandy

    the person, who wrote this about “Z” sounds insane…. if he right then he should be at the Xenith.

  • Sherry Beth Connot

    I can’t imagine calling my kid Xachary. Made me look though!

  • Magdalena

    Poor Zorro!! What will he do now? Especially on April 1st.

  • Hal

    What a great idea! Who needs it. After all, its pulling up the rear, dead last in the alphabet. I say good riddance.
    I’m particularly fond of A either. Being first, it tends to get a little arrogant sometimes.
    I’m sure there are others we could do without as well. I’m might get zapped.

  • Michael

    Well played!

  • Bruce H

    Snassy. Or is snaxxy?

  • Carol Roberts Smith

    Take & Bring – why can’t we ‘take’ anything anywhere anymore? Why do we have to ‘bring’ it. It sounds weird to me to say bring or brought. ‘I brought lunch to work’ I can live with, but ‘I have to bring this back to the store’ makes no sense to me. I’m taking it back to the store one way or another. Help me understand please. I notice it on TV a lot now too. Thanks!

  • Frederick Fuller

    The change will confuse old timers like I. I’m sure the “z” will live on in my writing for a long time, if not forever. Sure glad I don’t do spelling contest anymore. What about ZZZZZZZZZZZZZ to indicate sleeping? XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX? Now, how do we distinguish XXXXXXXXXXXX from XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX meaning kisses? Dunno. I think the ELCC doesn’t have a lot to do.

  • Angela

    This must be an April Fools joke. Removing Z doesn’t really make sense. Imagine everyone having to relearn all their z words 🙂

  • kai-bo

    I love it. All those people whose surnames began with “Z” will no longer be last in the phone book. Those people whose last names begin with “Y” will now have to take their places where they belong, cleaning up after the parade!

    Good one!

  • Eric Cooperstein

    I’ll bet the supporters of “K“ are relieved.

  • KQJohnson

    HaHa,
    I fell right into that one! My first real April Fool’s joke of the day.

  • Spirit

    Wonder what they’d do with that extra space on the keyboard…

    What about the word Zebra? Sebra? Xebra? Eww. Yes, it’s cool we’re unifying the language across the globe from one country to the next but let’s not forget- we’re individualistic (in theory). Besides, we don’t use the phrase ‘snogging’ or any other British terms here in America- so what if we keep some little letter they don’t? It makes us different.

    If we’re going to change something why haven’t we gone for a more obvious rout and changed color to colour or check to cheque? Why immediately go for the letter Z?

    On an ironic note, think of all the spell check software we’d have to update. Children of the next generation reading library books and wondering what that funny little letter is. What about my Alphabits cereal? Would New Zealand…

    I’ll stop myself there. I think it’s interesting either way but I’d rather it be a prank. True, it’d make spelling a lot of things on the fly easier- so many children do have trouble with the letter, but I shudder at how much we’d have to fix if we removed it.

  • Kaye Gregory

    My inhaling astonished denying gasp exhaled as a whispering “April Fools!” You revved up my adrenaline though!

  • thebluebird11

    I reali[z]e this is an April Fool post, but truly, if we want to unify things, why stop at one ocean? I say, “LONG LIVE ESPERANTO!!”

  • ChrisB

    Actually, the opposite would be much more useful — make every word where the x sounds like a z actually use a z, eg, zerox.

    I’d do the same thing with g & j and c & s too. And ch & k.

    My eldest is learning to read, and all too often I have to say, “This doesn’t follow the rule, but …”

  • Julie Hewett

    very nicely done …

  • knowman

    Nice one!

  • AmaT

    Outrageous! This is just as ridiculous as those who decided that Pluto is no longer a planet!

    I agree with Frederick – the ELCC needs to find something useful to do.

  • Melissa Ramer

    This is a lovely April Fool’s joke. Congratulations.

    The financial repercussions of updating all the A-B-C books, songs, and first grade teachers’ manuals alone make this improbable. Think of all the new dictionaries, keyboards, etc! Oh, wait–maybe that’s the point. A new market for re-spelled words?

  • Debbie

    And now ve can finally zay to all ze vorried peepel zat ze Germanic and Zlavic langvaches have reqvested dis letter – and it vaz agreed by ze authorities datt zo be it.

  • Rich

    Great April Fool joke. First thing I noticed was the supposed ‘ELCC’ – unlike our French counterparts, we in the UK have no formal or official body to manage or preserve our native language!

  • Sharon H

    The responses to this piece are at least as entertaining as the original April Fool’s joke! Good one.

  • sonny chen

    letter Z removing is for ‘April 1, special joke for american english. why change for something so unique about the language. just a thought.

  • JohnsSocks

    Z pisses me off anyway. It can go away. It hurts to step on, looks like an ‘N’ when you turn it sideways, and I have broken many pencils writing the bastard. 🙁

  • Desert Rat

    I agree with Sharon H… the responses are a hoot!

  • LESLOVICH

    Considering the remote chance that this is not an April Fool’s joke, Rex Harrison some years ago questioned, “why can’t the English learn to speak?” (My Fair Lady) Now it appears the English can perhaps no longer write either. Is this , then, not a good time to begin to speak “American”? We can surely do a much better job of it.

  • Erik

    “First off, are you crazy. Yeah that word has a z in it. Is it gonna b craxy or crasy? And I like the question about people with z in their names. Who do you people think you are?”

    Hahaha =)

  • thebluebird11

    @JohnsSocks: Oh nooooo!! Z is jazzy, snazzy, zany and zippy! It can zigzag, zero in and zap. It can be zealous! It can add zing, or not (in case you want to catch some zzzzzzzzzzz).
    We need ZIP codes! We need Ziplocs to hold zebras. Think of all the medications that would have to be pulled off the market…Zoloft, Zyvox, Zegerid, Ziac and Zetia…What about Zorro, Ziggy Marley, Ziggy Stardust, Ziggy from the comics, Warren Zevon (RIP) and Zooey Deschanel? Billy Joel will have to re-title his song about Zanzibar…and OMG what about ZZ Top!!! Aieeeee!! LOLOL

  • BigBenFactor

    Whoa!
    If this is not a April Fool’s joke, then I do not agree with replacing the letter ‘z’ with ‘s’ as in ‘organise’ rather than ‘organize”

    The zpelling tells me a lot about the author, and where he/she is from. Who is going to fiz the spell checker? 🙂

    Leave it alone.
    BBF

  • Melissa Ramer

    It would make the xoo sound naughty.

  • BigBenFactor

    It is the economy ‘ztupid’ Typewriting manufacturing will save money on one less letter. Remember the typewriter? Oh, alright, how about the keyboard manufacturing. Got it? Good. 😀

    BBF

  • CalcDave

    The Wizard of Ox?

  • Nelida K.

    I was going to message asking since when did a language authority exist in Britain for the English language (like the “Academias de la Lengua” in Spanish for Latin America and the “Real Academia Española” in Spain) when I happened to look sideways to the calendar pinned onto my copy holder, and it dawned on me…..so I decided to play an April Fool prank of my own. I tweeted the post and asked for opinions, but nobody took the bait, so I tweeted again a “part II” and confessed to having been naughty…..

    Happy Easter, everybody!

  • Nelida K.

    And, since we are at it, a bit of factual information. In the Latin-speaking world, April Fool’s Day is not in April (well, this does not make a lot of sense, does it?). Fact is, there is no April Fool’s Day, but there is an equivalent, which is called “Día de los Inocentes” (Day of the Innocent) and it is on December 28, and is also celebrated by playing all sorts of pranks on those unsuspecting souls innocent enough (or otherwise occupied) to fall for them…

  • tmg

    This is hilarious! Thanks, everybody ~

  • Melissa Ramer

    “Xeitgeist” just doesn’t cut the mustard.

  • John Turner

    Daniel,

    Great post. I linked to it in my blog.
    http://www.cjfm.org/blog/?p=1969#more-1969

    Thanks for the inspiration. This is a very helpful website. Thanks for the great service you provide.

    Happy Resurrection Weekend to you!

  • Viking Bastard

    The Icelandic alphabet used to have the Z, but it was removed from the language through laws set by the Icelandic parliament in 1972 (which went into effect in 1974). The parliament debates are legendary and were very fierce.

    The rationale for the expulsion actually mirrors the reasons given in that article pretty well.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Z#Usage

Leave a comment: