Richard-Business Eng
Professional Teacher
7 Ways to Say "OUGH" - - - Or, why can't English be phonetic?

7 Ways to Say "OUGH"


It's a pity that English is not phonetic! In some languages, you can look at a word and know immediately how to pronounce it. But in English you need to be a little more careful.

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


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)


So how do you know the pronunciation of a word? Well, fortunately "ough" is an extreme example. English words are not always that difficult. But in general, when you learn a new word, you should also make sure you know its pronunciation.

Jan 20, 2016 4:37 PM
Comments · 9

The great Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw hated English spelling and wanted to simplify it.


His famous example of stupid English pronunciation was that "fish" could be spelt "ghoti"

- Take the "gh" in cough

- Take the "o" in women

- Take the "ti" in nation


And boom! Fish = ghoti! ;-)

January 20, 2016

The baker-man was kneading dough
And whistling softly, sweet and lough.

Yet ever and anon he'd cough
As though his head were coming ough!

"My word!" said he," but this is rough:
This flour is simply awful stough!"

He punched and thumped it through and through,
As all good bakers dough!

" I'd sooner drive," said he " a plough
Than be a baker anyhough!"

Thus spake the baker kneading dough;
But don't let on I told you sough!

January 20, 2016

I didn't know the meaning of 2 words you wrote in your entry and of course I didn't know how they were pronunced: plough and borough.


I think I will start using "borough" because I tend use the word "area" instead. The difficult thing is the pronuntiation, the "Wordreference" dictionary pronunce it so different, depending on the accent! The US accent ends the word with an O sound whereas British accent ends the same word with an A.


I've tried to read Su.Ki text but I've given up! Too complicated :) 

January 20, 2016

A line is a line, sometimes, bafflingly, called a verse ( from the French 'vers').

A stanza is the 'posh' word for what we'd normally call a verse.


Confused? So am I. As if we didn't have enough problems already with our spelling and pronunciation.

January 20, 2016


That was nothing short of terrific.

I had never read that little poem before this very minute.

I laughed at every stanza...

(guess who's not much of a poet "Is each line actually called a stanza?"... Yates and Wordsworth have nothing to fear from me)


Thank you so much Su.Ki. (12 upvotes)

January 20, 2016
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