Pronunciation of letters and letter groups (letter combinations) 



The letter o before m (as in come):


In most accents, the letter o before m is pronounced as a short vowel sound, similar to the uh sound in cup

come: [kʌm]





The letter o before n (as in son):


The letter o before n is usually pronounced as a short vowel sound, similar to the uh sound in cup.

son: [sʌn]





The letter o before v (as in love):


The letter o before v is typically pronounced as a diphthong, where the o sound glides into a schwa sound (short, unstressed uh).

love: [lʌv]







The letter o before th (as in mother):


The pronunciation before th can be a bit more complex. In some accents, like American English, it’s pronounced as a diphthong starting with the ah sound and gliding into the uh sound.

In other accents, it might be a pure uh sound.


(American English) mother: [ˈmʌðə (r)]

(Other accents) mother: [ˈmʌθə (r)] or [‘mʌðə (r)]


Exceptions of the letter o pronunciation:


In these exceptions, the letter o after m, n, v, and th is pronounced differently.

move: [muːv]

novel: [ˈnɒvl]

gone: [ɡɒn]

shone: [ʃəʊn]

approve: [əˈpruːv]

proverb: [ˈprɒv.ɜːb]

woman: [ˈwʊmən]

honour: [ˈɒnə(r)] (British English), [ˈɑːnər] (American English)








The digraph ow pronunciation:


The digraph ow in English does have some unique pronunciation variations compared to other digraphs. The pronunciation of ow can represent two different sounds, and these variations can be challenging for learners.


[aʊ] Sound (as in cow):


This pronunciation sounds like the ow in cow. It’s a diphthong that starts with an ah sound and glides into an oo sound.


cow: [kaʊ]

how: [haʊ]

now: [naʊ]

brown: [braʊn]







The digraph ow pronunciation:


[oʊ] Sound (as in slow):

This pronunciation sounds like the oe in toe. It’s also a diphthong but starts with an oh sound and glides into an oo sound.


slow: [sləʊ]

show: [ʃəʊ]

grow: [ɡrəʊ]

know: [nəʊ]








The letters e, I, y, or a with final silent e:


When the letters e, i, y, or a are followed by a silent e at the end of a word, they are pronounced like [ı] sound.


delegate: [ˈdel.ɪ.ɡeɪt]







The letters o, u, or a pronunciation:


When the letters o, u, or a are not followed by a silent e, they often create [ə] sound.


pilot: [ˈpaɪlət]

circus: [ˈsɜːkəs]

cinema: [ˈsɪnımə]






The letter o


The letter o at the final position represents [əʊ] sound.


potato: [pəˈteɪtəʊ]









The vowel sound before l or n


When a syllable ends with a consonant l or n, the vowel sound that comes before the l or n is often not fully pronounced and can be nasalized.

This phenomenon is common in English and is known as vowel reduction or syllabic consonants.


final: [ˈfaɪnl]

garden: [ˈɡɑːdn̩]

lesson: [ˈlesn̩]









The letter x:


When the letter x appears before a stressed syllable, it is typically pronounced as the [gz] sound, similar to the [gz] sound in exam and exhibit.


However, when x appears in all other positions, it is usually pronounced as the [ks] sound,



Before Stressed Syllable (Pronounced [gz]):

exam: [ɪɡˈzæm]

exhibit: [ɪɡˈzɪbɪt]


In All Other Positions (Pronounced [ks]):

six: [sɪks]

text: [tɛkst]

exercise: [ˈeksəsaɪz]

expect: [ɪkˈspekt]






The letter combination rr


When the letter combination rr appears within a word, it represents a single [r] sound that is pronounced with a strong rolling or tapping of the r sound.

This is known as a flapped or tapped [r] sound.

This sound is often heard in certain dialects of English, like American English.


sorry: [ˈsɑri] (American English pronunciation)

marry: [ˈmæri] (American English pronunciation)



The letter combinations er and or


In unstressed syllables, the letter combinations er and or often produce a reduced vowel sound, typically an [ə(r)] sound known as the schwa sound.

This is a common pronunciation pattern in English.



Reduced Vowel Sound [ə(r)]

better: [ˈbɛtə(r)]

doctor: [ˈdɑktə(r)]








The letter o before ld


When the letter o appears before ld- within a word, it is often pronounced as a long [əʊ] sound.


old: [əʊld]

hold: [həʊld]






The letter u after l, r, or j


When the letter u appears before the consonants l, r, or j, it is often pronounced as the yoo sound [u:]


rude: /ruːd/

flute: /fluːt/

June: /dʒuːn/








The letter combination ng


When the letter combination ng appears at the end of words, it is typically pronounced as the ŋ sound, which is a nasal sound made by the back of the tongue against the soft part of the roof of the mouth.


long: [lɔŋ]

sang: [sæŋ]











Pronunciation of letters- u, o, a, e, x, l,y and letter groups- ow, ng, er, or, rr in English

Pronunciation of letters-i, I, j, g, w, qu and letter groups – au, ou, kn, ture, sh, ch, th, gh in English

Pronunciation of the letter “a” before consonants

The S Sound Phonics

Vowel and Consonant Sounds in Syllable

What is Six Syllable Types?