Phonic Rules

10 Rules for better English Pronunciation

Phonics refers to associating letters or group of letters along with the sounds they represent. In simple words we can say that Phonics is one method of teaching how to read and pronounce. It is an important tool for reading, writing and pronouncing words. The goal of phonics is to enable learners to decode new written words by pronouncing them in phonics terms. Phonics is normally a part of primary education and if not mastered properly it can lead us towards the incorrect pronunciation of words. Before starting rules for pronunciation lets see the meaning of vowels and consonants which is important part of this topic.

Vowels: There are 26 alphabet letters in English language. Out of these A, E, I, O, and U are vowels. These are the speech sounds made with your mouth open and your tongue in the middle of your mouth not touching your teeth and lips. Vowels can be "Long" or "Short". Sometimes "y" & "w" are also used as vowels. This also includes the diphthongs "ai, au, aw, ew, ei, oi, oo, ou, ow, oy" etc.

Consonants: Consonants are all the other letters which stop or limit the flow of air from the throat in speech. They are: "b,c,d,f,g,h,j,k,l,m,n,p,q,r,s,t,v,w,x,y,z,ch,ph,sh,th,wh, gh, and ng".

Rules for Pronunciation: 

  1. Every syllable in every word must contain a vowel.
  2. When a syllable ends in a vowel and if it is the only vowel, that vowel is usually long. Examples: be/come, cra/ker, go/ing, fu/ture, my/self, pa/per, ba/ker.
  3. When a syllable ends in a consonant and has only one vowel, that vowel is short. Examples: cap, sad, clock, mug.
  4. When a syllable ends in a silent "e," the vowel that comes before the silent "e" is long. Examples: make, take, cale, bite, kite, rope, hope, use, fuse.
  5. When a syllable has two vowels together, the first vowel is usually long and the second vowel is silent. Example: pain, stain, crow, grow, coat. Diphthongs don't follow this rule; In diphthongs, the vowels blend together to create a single sound.
  6. When a vowel is followed by "r" in the same syllable, it is neither long nor short. Examples: for, charm, sir, shirt, corn, surf, fir.
  7. When 2 consonants are joined together and form new sound, they are known as consonant digraph. Here are some consonant digraphs you should know: gh (laugh), kn (known), wh (why), sh (shout), wr (write)th (that), ch (child), ph (graph), tch (catch), ng (ring).
  8. When letter "C" is followed by "e, i, or y," it usually has the soft sound of "S" Example: cigar, city, cease, celebrate, cycle etc.
  9. When letter "G" is followed by "e, i, or y," it usually has the soft sound of "J." Example: gem, germinate, ginger, gymnastic etc.
  10. In a one syllable word "Y" is pronounced as (ai) for example: cry, try, fry, by etc and in a two syllable word "Y" is pronounced as (e) for example: tiny, party, candy, city, kitty etc.
Sometimes the rules don't work. Because of the vastness of the language at some places some rules don't work. However these rules work in the majority of the words.
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