ENGLISH PHONICS RULES FOR READING/WRITING/TALKING

Phonetics in English

Before we get into English phonics, let’s first explain what phonics is, what is meant by the study of sounds when speaking and how they are made, transmitted and heard. It also refers to the connection between written letters and the sounds in a word.

Phonics will be useful when you want to know how to read a word and how to write it. This will make it easier for people to understand you and for you to understand them without much effort.

English Phonics Basics

Let’s look at some elements that are key to learning basic English, and which you may have learned but without knowing the rules or explanation behind it. That’s why today we present you with this little guide so that you can become familiar with words and their sounds, and find it much easier to pronounce them correctly and, therefore, to speak English. It can be a little confusing at first, but if you listen to the words and their pronunciation at the same time, everything becomes more natural.

So pay close attention and take notes, it’s always a good idea to have a little English phonetics guide available to consult whenever you need it.

The silent “e

If the “e” is at the end of the word and there is only one more vowel in it, then the first one is pronounced and the “e” becomes silent, also prolonging the sound of the vowel before it.

Thrive

Bake

Pine

Breathe

But the E is not the only letter that mutes, here are other silent letters and their rules, as well as examples of words for you to understand better:

The B is silent if it comes after the M, at the end of the word

Crumb

Thumb

Comb

Numb (numb)

The C is usually silent in the SC combination

Muscle

Scent (essence)

Scene

G is silent when followed by N

Champagne

Sign ( signal )

Reign

Design

D is also silent in common words used regularly

Handsome

Wednesday

Bridge

Sandwich

Edge

The silent H is not pronounced when it comes after a vowel

Fight

Taught

Daughter

Now, GH can have a sound similar to F

Cough

Laugh

Tough

The H is silent if preceded by a W

Why

When

Where

White

Wheel

The H also does not sound if it comes after the letters C, G or R

Chemistry

Echo

School

Ghost

Chorus

Technology

The silent L is the one that comes after the vowels A, O and U

Talk

Could

Calm

Stalk

Palm

The K also doesn’t sound when it comes before the N at the beginning of a word

Knife

Know

Knackered

The N becomes silent if it comes after the M at the end of a word

Autumn

Column

The P does not sound if it is at the beginning of words with the combinations PS, PT and PN

Pneumonia (Pneumonia)

Psychology

Psalm

Psychosis (psychosis)

Pterodactyl

Psychic

PH is often going to sound like F

Elephant

Phantom

Telephone

Orphan

Dolphin

The S is silent before the L in these words

Island

Isle (island)

Isolate (corridor)

The T is silent in some common words like

Castle

Often

Ballet (ballet)

Christmas

The U is silent when it comes after the letter G and if it comes before a vowel

Guess

Guitar

Tongue (language)

Guilt

Guard

Finally, the W is silent at the beginning of a word if it comes before the R

Wrinkle

Write

Wrong

Wrist

Wrath

Wraith (apparition, ghost)

Short and long vowels

If after a vowel, there is a consonant, the vowel is short. It is also usually short when there is only one in a word or syllable, such as “on”, “pink”.

It will be a long vowel when its sound is pronounced individually when it says its own name. Usually, if that vowel is alone at the end of a syllable or word. “no” (no) and “later” (later).

The “schwa” sound

Any vowel is capable of making this sound, which is why it is the most common sound in English. It is of vital importance that you understand it well, this sound is similar to an “uh” or the “a” in “about”. In British English, it is very commonly used in words ending in “er”. “Sister, register” – Sister, register.

Double consonant

The case of the double consonant can bring many people to their senses, as a word may or may not bend in these cases:

Forms in -ing (running)

Forms in -ed (spotted)

Fatter Fattest and Sadder Saddest

There are a few things to take into account in order to know whether or not you should double the consonant, if the word is monosyllabic, remember the consonant-vowel-consonant rule.

Run – running

Win – winning

Trim – trimming

Stop – stopping

If the word has more than one syllable and no intonation, we will not double the consonant. For example:

Visit – visiting

Listen – listening

Similarly, words ending in W, Y, and X are not doubled.

Glow – glowing

Mix – mixing

Play – playing

We have to double the consonant if the word has the tonic syllable at the end, like here:

Prefer – preferred

Begin – beginning

There are two exceptions to this in British English:

Travel – traveling, traveled

Cancel – canceling, canceled

Syllables and vowels

The syllables and vowels are what form the words, the syllables are A, E, I, O U, and the consonants are the other letters of the English alphabet, now we will see a small list of their pronunciation.

Short vowels

Symbol Examples

e Tent, better, pretend, West.

æ Rat, cat, tap, hat, flat.

ʌ Gun, dove, honey, London, Rome.

ʊ Took, book, scoop, put

ɒ Bob,squat,Rob,body,follow,social.

ə About, December, banana, mother, again.

Long vowels

Symbol Examples

i: Agree, feed, beach, machine, beat, niece.

ɜ: Bird, word, car, worm, hard.

ɔ: Walk, north, force, south. yawn, jaw.

u: Goose, moon, fruit, gloomy, do, blew, two.

Vowels with diphthong

Symbol Examples

ɪə dear, unclear, fear, beard, disappear.

eə pure, air, aware, dairy, tourist.

eɪ Trace, fade, hay, eight.

ɔɪ coin, avoid, toy, destroy, oil, oyster.

aɪ die, blind, time, my, bright, fight, dye.

əʊ alone, bone, no, home, arrow, boat, stone.

aʊ about,account,coward,hour,mouse.

Fricative consonants

Symbol Examples

f fun, Friday, flex.

vampire, view.

θ sand, seven, miss.

zoo, amazing, lazy.

ʃ show, trash, dash, ship.

ʒ measure, pleasure.

h honey, hell, hold.

Occlusive consonants

Symbol Examples

p tap, permanent, plunder.

b beg, bounce, bottle, bribe.

the tent, truck, mate.

d duck,dog,need,dawn,day.

k dock, kettle, quick.

g going, gun, tag, girl.

Affricate consonants

Symbol Examples

ʈʃ chain, change, choosing, watch.

dʒ jeans, edge, joy.

Nasal Consonants

Symbol Example

m gloom, mouse, monkey, mother.

n know, burn, now.

ŋ trimming, something, king.

Proximate consonants

Symbol Example

r rose, rent, right, ride.

J yellow, yard, university.

while wet, world, walnut, wall.

l and ɫ lot, lid, law, medicine, law.

Wow, that’s a lot to learn eh, most people who study English are certainly not expected to know the English phonetic alphabet (IPA) perfectly, but if you give it a good review and pay attention to all the English you hear in movies and songs or series, you can identify the different sounds and intonations, keeping in mind that some things will vary depending on the accent of the particular person and his place of origin. But this is true in any language, even your native language.

Ah! And it should be clarified that the phonetics in English explained here are focused on the British one, so you should take that into account. Now, with everything ready, you can practice and learn the different and fascinating English sounds.

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