Writing for Business

Jan 21 2010   4:05PM GMT

How do you pronounce ‘SQL?’

Ivy Wigmore Ivy Wigmore Profile: Ivy Wigmore

Which is correct?
___ SQL injection attack takes advantage of poor website coding practices.
a. A
b. An

Answer: Either, depending on how you pronounce “SQL.”

SQL is either pronounced as “sequel” or by pronouncing the individual letters (usually — read on for more variations). So, in speech, chose “an ess-queue-ell” or “a sequel” and then follow that practice in your writing.

SQL server expert Rudy Limeback claims that the preferrred pronunciation is “ess-queue-ell”:

SQL is sometimes pronounced “sequel,” but mostly by people who have experience only with Microsoft’s database system SQL Server, usually pronounced “sequel-server,” which is one of the most commonly used database systems today. The more accepted pronunciation is “ess cue ell,” in which each letter is spoken separately. A few people, for whatever reason, pronounce it “squeal” or “squirrel” but this is rare.

Okay. I’m in the habit of pronouncing it that way, anyway, although “sequel” seems like the snappier alternative — which I’m usually all for. I will say that I hear “sequel” more often from most of my tech-y contacts.

But I hadn’t realized that “squeal” and “squirrel” were options. Henceforth, “squirrel” it shall be, as far as I’m concerned. And so then, my sentence would be pronounced: “A squirrel injection attack takes advantage of poor website coding practices.” Pesky squirrels!

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