How To Pronounce Words Written With ‘OUGH’ Correctly In English?

Did you know that there are 6 different ways to pronounce words written with ‘OUGH’ in English? So, if you want to know how to pronounce words written with the ‘OUGH’ letter combination…watch the video below. Especially if you are unsure how to pronounce words like ‘though’, ‘through’, or ‘thorough’.

In this video, I will teach you the different pronunciations of the OUGH letter combination along with sample sentences for each word.

There are 6 sounds for Ough in American English:

  • Pronunciation # 1: Ough / oʊ / (Long O) as in ‘Though’
  • Pronunciation # 2: Ough / u / (Long U) as in ‘Through’
  • Pronunciation # 3: Ough / ɔː / (AW sound) as in ‘Bought’
  • Pronunciation # 4: Ough / aʊ / (OW sound) as ‘Bough’
  • Pronunciation # 5: Ough / ɒf / (OFF) as in ‘Cough ‘
  • Pronunciation # 6: Ough / ʌf / (Uff) as in ‘Slough’

Watch the video above to hear the pronunciation of each of the 6 sounds and listen to the sample sentences written with OUGH in English.

And here’s the complete list of 239 words with OUGH in English if you want to check them out.

Download PDF: How To Pronounce Words Written With ‘OUGH’ Correctly In English?

Below is a PDF file with all the words and phrases used in the video so you can print them off and to study while you watch the lesson.

Download the Slides: How To Pronounce Words Written With ‘OUGH’ Correctly In English?

You can also download the slides I used in the video here.

This is so you read the words and sentence calmly without hearing my voice. 😉

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How To Pronounce Words Written With ‘OUGH’ Correctly In English? >>>

Why The OUGH Sound Is So Hard to Pronounce in English?

Orginally, Anglo-Saxon words were written with the letter ‘H’ to indicate a ‘voiceless velar fricative’ in words like ‘Bach’.2

In the 13th century with the invasion of the French and their influence in the English language…a letter ‘G’ was added to the letter ‘H’ to represent this sound.4

And then, in the 17th century this voiceless velar fricative began to change. In a few words, the sound completely disappeared (as in the words “through” and “bought”)

In other words, the ‘voiceless velar fricative’ was converted into a ‘voiceless labiodental fricative’ (between the teeth) that now sounds like the letter ‘F’ in words like ‘cough’ and ‘enough’.5

Pronunciation # 1: Ough / oʊ / (Long O)

Pronounced as a ‘Long O’ sound in words like ‘toe’, ‘no’ or ‘go’

  • Dough – I love mixing bread dough
  • Furlough – The missionaries are home on furlough
  • Though – I like it even though it smells weird
  • Thorough – He always does a thorough job
  • Although – I understand. Although I do not think it’s a very good excuse

Pronunciation # 2: Ough / u: / (Long U)

Pronounced as a ‘Long U’ (oo) sound in words like ‘too’, ‘threw’, or ‘shoe’

  • Through – It was too big to fit through the door
  • Throughout – He puked several times throughout the day
  • Throughput – spend the day trying to measure througput on the server
  • Throughway – An accident Prevented us from getting on the throughway

Pronunciation # 3: Ough / ɔː / (AW sound)

Regularly used before the letter / t / (One exception is the word ‘Drought’)

  • Bought – I bought a new house last year
  • Brought – expresso me some coffee
  • Ought – You ought to go with Them
  • Sought – They sought new ways to Increase productivity
  • Thought – He thought she was nuts
  • Wrought – wrought a terrible plague

Pronunciation # 4: Ough / aʊ / (W sound)

Pronounced with the ‘Ow’ sound in words like ‘cow’, ‘now’ or ‘how’

  • Bough – The bough fell off during the storm
  • Plough – He hates to plough his farm
  • Drought – They suffered a severe drought

Pronunciation # 5: Ough / ɒf / (Off)

Pronounced with the ‘Off’ sound in words like ‘scoff’or’ stroganoff ‘

  • Cough – She was coughing all afternoon
  • Trough – The horses drank from the trough

Pronunciation # 6: Ough / ʌf / (Uff)

Prounced with the ‘Uff’ in words like ‘cuff’, ‘stuff’ or ‘buff’

  • Enough – That’s enough for today
  • Rough – It was a rough game
  • Slough – always sloughs off on the job
  • Tough – She is one tough boss

Watch the video above to hear the pronunciation of OUGH of each of these six sounds, the vocabulary words and phrases. Use the video to practcie your pronunciation of these sounds in English.

I hope this video helps you. If you have questions or doubts … leave a comment below.

Bibliography

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ough_(orthography)
  2. http://www.howtospell.co.uk/gh-words
  3. https://www.quora.com/Pronunciation/How-did-gh-at-the-end-ofsome-words-become-an-eff-sound
  4. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oZ-g8iF3Fdk
  5. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oZ-g8iF3Fdk

More Information about the Ough pronunciation in English

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