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I would like to use the letter W in a set of lyrics in a choral work. I want the performers to pronounce all three syllables of the letter, as if they were spelling.

Wikipedia suggests spelling it "double-u" (source).

For the lyrics, would the syllabification dou-ble-u be wise, or would dou-ble-you be less likely to cause confusion?

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    Another alternative would be dou-ble–U, with a capital letter.
    – trlkly
    Aug 7, 2023 at 9:35

1 Answer 1

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I've found three general takes.

  1. In sheet music, the most common is just to write "W___", where the bar extends under the relevant notes/rhythm.

    "ABC" song showing use of "W____"
    (Image source)

  2. In lyrics-only websites, it is also most common to just use the letter "W".

    "National Association of 'W' Lovers lyrics
    (Image source)

  3. Less frequently used is "double-u", but there are examples.

    "ABC" song use of "double-u"
    (Image source)

  4. I found no examples of "double-you", and would personally find that confusing at first glance.

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    W _____ is super-confusing anywhere else than the alphabet song (where it makes sense to list it this way probably). I would just go with double U, preferring readibility over meaning.
    – yo'
    Aug 7, 2023 at 13:35
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    The second song doesn't scan well. The rhyme for "trouble" is just "double", so the "you" has to slip into the next line.
    – Barmar
    Aug 7, 2023 at 13:57
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    @BrianTHOMAS American's also pronounce it "dou-ble-u".
    – Aaron
    Aug 7, 2023 at 16:03
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    Americans understand dialectical differences as well as any Britisher. Written one way, pronounced perhaps differently in common dialect, and then differently again in my local dialect. Not a big deal. Aug 7, 2023 at 18:19
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    @Barmar I think it's just not split up properly, it looks like it should be: "it's not any trouble, you/know it's a double-u". When written like that it scans much better.
    – Idran
    Aug 7, 2023 at 19:20

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