The English Language's 26 Most Important Letters

The English alphabet has ever been the center of the American literary universe — the letters of Whitman, of Edith Wharton, of every poorly-spelled happy hour chalkboard in Greenwich Village — and though the legendary set of graphemes has lost a little edge and a lot of grime what with all the crazy texting the kids do today, it is still creative fodder for countless contemporary writers, even the ones who have figured out that if you do graphic novels you have to write like 75% less.

As you may have heard, one of the alphabet’s most legendary letters, Q, recently announced that since he was only appreciated in Scrabble and when the New York Times wanted to seem authentic in converting a word from Arabic, he was retiring, which has left us thinking about the state of the symbols — and where they might go from here. To that end, we’ve taken a look at some of the alphabet’s most important letters. In making our list, we’ve chosen symbols with serious orthographic merit, taking into consideration their legacy, their publishing history, and their cultural relevance across the board to compile a definitive ranking of their value. Find our ranked list after the jump, and get to quibbling (as we know you will) in the comments.
26. Z
25. Y
24. X
23. W
22. V
21. U
20. T
19. S
18. R
17. Q
16. P
15. O
14. N
13. M
12. L
11. K
10. J
9. I
8. H
7. G
6. F
5. E
4. D
3. B
2. C
1. A