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          Move your mouse over the phonetic symbols to listen to their pronunciation.

USUAL PRONUNCIATION
 

English has no rules for spelling or pronunciation, but there are some strong tendencies that may help us guess what the most probable pronunciation of a word is. I will tell you here the most important ones, but don't forget that you will find many exceptions to these rules.

This may be useful for consultation but, please, don't try to memorize it, it would be useless since there are so many exceptions. To pronounce English correctly you have to find out the pronunciation of every single new word when you learn it.

 
  SPELLING Usual Sounds EXAMPLES less common EXAMPLES
A sat, marry, hand, ran, cat
radio, case, page, fate, mate
father, bath, dance, cast, fast
AR artist, car, park, start, far, charm AR+vowel: care, stare, Mary
AIR air, chair, fair, stair, hair, fairy    
A WA watch, what, want, quantity, quality walk, water, wall, war, warm
AU/AW Paul, caught, fault, cause, daughter, saw, lawn, law    
AL all, call, fall, ball, tall, salt, bald, false pal, calendar, balance
AI/AY rain, paid, day, away    
 
E egg, editor, bet, went, send, pest English, pretty, before
EE sleep, deep, meet, cheese, keep, teen
EER beer, cheer, steer, eery    
E EA read, eat, tea, meat, speak, breathe bread, health, ready
EAR near, ear, dear, fear, beard, clear pear, wear, bear
ER (stressed) person, verb, prefer, certain    
EW /ju:/ new, few, sewerage, knew    
EI/EY receive, ceiling, perceive, key    
 
I if, film, his, pistol, risk
fine, mine, pile, pilot, child
   
IE field, piece, niece    
I IGH high, light, fight, might    
  IR (stressed) first, girl, stir    
IRE fire, pyre, tired, Ireland    
 
O bottle, clock, pot, dog
so, ago, home, cold, post
son, love, come, London
OO good, book, look
food, cool, pool
   
OOR door, floor, poor    
  OR horse, port, more, before    
WOR (stressed) work, worse, word, worm, world    
O WO worry, wonder, won
woman, wolf
woke, won't, wove
  OA boat, coast, coat, road, coal, oak    
  OU/OW house, out, found, brown, how, town low, snow, know, soul
  OUR/OWR hour, our, sour, flower, power    
  OI/OY boy, boil, joy, toy, voice    
  OUGHT bought, brought, ought    
 
U /ju:/ student, ambulance, cute
cup, uncle, funny, us
blue, June, flute
put, sugar
U UR (stressed) turn, fur, spur    
UR + vowel pure, cure, curious, mature    
  UI fruit, juice, suit    
 

All these vowels and vowel combinations are often pronounced with a Schwa () if they are in a non-stressed syllable, so I don't give any examples of this sound here because it is unnecessary.



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