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To get the pronunciation of some words or sounds. It is not a complete list of rules but it is an introduction to give you a general idea of how spelling rules and sounds can work together.

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We explain the most important examples with transcriptions, the Schwa and other spelling rules which will help you to improve your speaking skills.

SOUNDS AND RULES

SOUNDS

Consonant + Vowel + Consonant

In words where there is a vowel between two consonants, the vowel sound is short.

- Rat /ɹæt/

- Cut /kʌt/

- Sit /sɪt/

- Not /nɒt/

- Pet /pet/

- Bed /bed/

SOUNDS

Consonant + Vowel + Consonant + Silent "E"

In those words where the final letter is an "e", that "e" is silent, that means that you do not pronounce it.

So, in words where there is a vowel between two consonants and the final letter is a "silent e",the vowel sound is long or a diphthong.

- Here /hɪə(ɹ)/

- Note /nəʊt/

- Cute /kjuː t/

- Site /saɪt/

- Rate /ɹeɪt/

SOUNDS

Consonant + Vowel

In monosyllabic words ending with a vowel, the final sound is generally a diphthong, except those ending with "e".

When the final spelling of a word is "ee", the sound is /iː /.

- No /nəʊ/

- Go /ɡəʊ/

- Bee /biː /

- Me /mɪ/

- So /səʊ/

After a long sound, the /ɹ/ is almost inaudible (except in American English).

- Car /kɑː (ɹ)/

- Peer /pɪə(ɹ)/

- More /mɔː (ɹ)/

- Over /əʊvə(ɹ)/

- Were /wə(ɹ)/

SCHWA SOUND

It is the most common sound of the English language.The Schwa can substitute any vowel and only appears in syllables which are not stressed.

- Pencil /pensəl/

- Cancel /kænsəl/

- Ago /əɡəʊ/

- Submit /səbmɪt/

The Schwa can occur more than once in the same word, like in "another" /ənʌðə(ɹ)/. It also can be placed in the first syllable of a word, in the middle or the last one.

In words ending with -er, the final sound is the Schwa -ə (except in American English).

- Teacher /tiː tʃə(ɹ)/

- Mother /mʌðə(ɹ)/

- Father /fɑː ðə(ɹ)/

- Brother /brʌðə(ɹ)/

In words ending with "a", the final sound is also Schwa -ə.

- Media /miː diə/

- Pizza /piː tsə/

- Zebra /zebrə/

SOFT AND HARD

These two consonants make different sounds depending on the letter that follows them in a word.

SOFT "C"

In words where there is a "C" followed by "E", "I" or "Y", the "C" sound is soft and its phoneme is /s/.

- Recite /rɪsaɪt/

- Cycle /saɪkl/

- Cellphone /selfəʊn/

- City /sɪtɪ/

- Police /pəliː s/

HARD "C"

In words where there is a "C" followed by the vowels "A","O","U" or any other letter, the "C" sound is hard and its phoneme is /k/.

- Cake /keɪk/

- Colours /kʌlə(ɹ)/

- Candy /kændɪ/

- Occur /əkɜː (ɹ)/

- Current /kʌrənt/

SOFT "G"

In words where there is a "G" followed by "E", "I" or "Y", the "G" is soft and it represents the sound that belongs to the letter "J". Its phoneme is /dʒ/.

- Ginger /dʒɪndʒə(ɹ)/

- Gentle /dʒentl/

- Origin /ɒrɪdʒɪn/

- Gypsy /dʒɪpsɪ/

- Page /peɪdʒ/

Be careful! There are exceptions to this rule (Give, Get, Girl, Gill, Geyser)

HARD "G"

In words where there is a "G" followed by the vowels "A", "O", "U" or any other letter, the "G" sound is hard and its phoneme is /g/.

- Good /ɡʊd/

- Guy /ɡaɪ/

- Gas /ɡæs/

- Kangaroo /kæŋɡəɹuː /

- Pig /pɪɡ/

There are some interesting words that include both hard and soft "C" – "G" sounds.

- Success  /səkses/

- Bicycle  /baɪsɪkl/

- Gigantic /dʒaɪɡæntɪk/

- Garage  /ɡærɑː ʒ/

- Vacancy /veɪkənsɪ/

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