0

I came across a statement Return "nth" from the last node And I realized I don't know how to say "nth" How to read it? Don't tell me N-T-H please!

closed as off-topic by sumelic, KarlG, tmgr, choster, Skooba Jan 9 at 21:03

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • 2
    There are dictionaries that give the pronunciation of this word; e.g. you can listen to it or see it transcribed here: en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/nth – sumelic Jan 8 at 7:52
  • The two most common pronunciations in U.S. English of "nth" in the expression "to the nth degree," I believe, are "inth" and "enth"; the preference in pronunciation (as with "pin" and "pen" for the word pen) depends largely on the part of the country where the speaker grew up. – Sven Yargs Jan 8 at 8:10
  • 2
    @SvenYargs: the correct pronunciation is enth. It's just that some people happen to pronounce enth the same as inth. – Peter Shor Jan 8 at 10:55
3

The letters of the alphabet all have names so the alphabet could be written as a, bee,cee and so on, and the letter 'n' has the name 'en' so the pronunciation of 'nth' is 'enth'.

This is somewhat analagous to talking about the position of 'm' in the alphabet. There are twelve letters before 'm' so its position is 13 which can also be written as 'thirteen'. It is therefore the 13th letter of the alpabet which can also be written as the thirteenth. In the first case we are using the symbol, in the second the name.

The parallel is that when we write about a letter we can either use its symbol or its name. It is perfectly acceptable to write either "There is a silent k in knowledge' or 'There is a silent kay in knowledge' but both sentences are pronounced in the same way.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.