I hope I am not being pedantic; however, I could not come up with an answer on the internet.

I wonder which is the letter which can be discriminated from the alphabet system on the basis of its myriad uses.

Any suggestions?

  • This is an opinion-based question, which it outside the charter of SE sites, so it'll probably be closed, unfortunately. But the short answer to your question is probably e, because it is the most-frequently used letter in English orthography (by a meaningful margin), it does double-duty as a kind of inflection (think "silent e"), it sometimes stands-in for schwa, which is the most common vowel sound in English, etc.
    – Dan Bron
    Feb 2, 2015 at 16:09
  • 2
    All the silent letters, expecially X, which has to stand for everything. Feb 2, 2015 at 16:18
  • 5
    @Dan Bron 'A life of e's' doesn't sound like they work too hard. Feb 2, 2015 at 16:20
  • @EdwinAshworth, that's going in my personal pun hall of fame.
    – Dan Bron
    Feb 2, 2015 at 16:21
  • 2
    'When I make a word do a lot of work like that,' said Humpty Dumpty, 'I always pay it extra.' Ah, for poor letter e, overworked yet underpaid.
    – cobaltduck
    Feb 2, 2015 at 16:30

1 Answer 1


@Dan Bron has put it quite succinctly.

As a Scrabble player, I would tell you that E is the most hardworked letter of the English alphabet.

Apart from representing its own sound (as in let, send ), it often serves as a silent modifier of others (as in mate, rage).

It is a relic of times when far more English words ended in e – when “olde shoppe” was indeed common spelling. In the course of history, final e has come and gone from many words.

Reference- The Cambridge Guide to Australian English Usage by Pam Peters.

  • 3
    But sinc E is so common, liminating it dosn't rally caus that much difficulty with communication.
    – Hot Licks
    Feb 2, 2015 at 18:44

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