Like a celebrity at a protest, they swan about in the limelight but disappear when its time to do the hard work.
I’m talking about the superfluous letters that infest our alphabet, taking up space on our typewriters, cluttering up our scrabble boards.
In this case exhibit A is the letter C. It is the 12th most frequently used letter in the alphabet. At least according to Wikipedia and that website must be trustworthy, even though it has a longer article on the second season of the TV drama Lost than it does on Spain (population 40million).
So C is in the top half of frequently used letters, even ahead of the vowel U. But if it were to disappear over night, simply fall of the keyboard, would we even notice? I argue no.
Year 1s are taught c can pronounced two ways. It is either a “soft C” as circle, cinderella and cytomegalvirus or it is a “hard C” like cake, cone or corticosteroid.
Soft C sounds like the letter S and hard C sounds like the letter K. Remind again why we need C then? And to add insult to injury, when K is already present, C turns up to grab some more attention in words like back and rock. So just like that, our alphabet is redused by 1/26th.
Another offender is the letter Q. Q is your klassik bludger, never seen without its kompanion U. It gets to start a lot good words like qualm and quoth but not with out U holding its hands.
The syllable represented by Q sounds like “kw” so lets just use those letters. K and W are the 22nd and 18th most frekwently used letters so its not like they are busy. They are probably glad for the work.
But don’t let this extra responsibility fool you into thinking W is without fault. W is aktually kwite luky to be number 18. In fiktion writing W is all the way up at number 13, probably bekause it is used to spell words like werewolf, war and Willy Wonka.
W has the nasty habit of stealing R’s thunder when it komes to the first letter of sertain words. It has no real right to be at the beginning of wrangle, wrek and wristband. So W, stop getting in the way.
But the letter that is the worst offender when it komes to unessesary usage is P. I have no problem with P in words like poem, Japan or gallop. Those are perfektly pleasant.
But when its starts depriving kwality letters like F of work, then that is just krazy.
F is kwite kapable of spelling frase, telefone and fotograf. P kan stop using H in its pekuliar kwest to deprive F of its due reward. H is number nine on the letter frekwensy list so it is not short of words to be spelling.
So remember, whether you are riting a deeply filosofikal novel or just kwikly filling in you sensus form, don’t use those superfluous letters.