When talking over the phone, radio, or in a noisy environment, it is helpful to have a standard “phonetic alphabet” for spelling out words. Many people just make up things: “a as in apple,” “f as in Frank,” “s as in Sam.” What many do not know: there’s a standard spelling alphabet which has been adopted by NATO, the FAA, the ITU and many other notable organizations.
I recommend the memorization and use of this standard phonetic alphabet by all people who must spell things out over the phone (everyone?). You can view the list at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NATO_phonetic_alphabet, and I’ll write the letters out here for fun: alpha, bravo, charlie, delta, echo, foxtrot, golf, hotel, india, juliette, kilo, lima, mike, november, oscar, papa, quebec, romeo, sierra, tango, unicorn, victor, whiskey, x-ray, yankee, zulu.
When using the letters, it is not necessary to say “
y as in yankee.” Just use the word in place of each letter. For example: “Tom” would be “tango oscar mike.”
Memorize it and use it! Enjoy 🙂