Different ways to pronounce "ough"

English is not phonetic! In some languages, you look at a word and know how to pronounce it.  But in English you need to be more careful.

Take the letters "ough", for example. They are in many words, but do not always sound the same.

How many different ways do you think "ough" can be pronounced? Two ways? Three? Four? More?

There are eight (EIGHT) different ways you can pronounce the letters....
  1. though (like o in go)
  2. through (like oo in too)
  3. cough (like off in offer)
  4. rough (like uff in suffer)
  5. plough (like ow in flower)
  6. ought (like aw in saw)
  7. borough (like a in above)
  8. hiccough (alternate spelling of hiccup)
So how do you know the pronunciation of a word? Well, "ough" is an extreme example. English words are not always so difficult. But remember, when you learn a new word, try to learn and pronunciation and the spelling together. If you do not have a teacher or someone to say the word for you, check in a dictionary.

Try with the 8 "ough" words.


"A rough-coated, dough-faced, thoughtful ploughman strode through the streets of Scarborough; after falling into a slough, he coughed and hiccoughed."

More options
Do a lesson on Pronunciation and Spelling with I Love Lucy.

And now the lesson is finished because ...

                                ... as people sometimes say

Adapted from www.englishclub.com