Unsupported Browser

ESL Library's search may not function properly in Internet Explorer. We recommend using Google Chrome or Firefox instead.

Unsupported Browser

ESL Library's search may not function properly in older browsers. We recommend updating yours to the latest version for the best experience.

Search ESL Libraryfor lessons, resources, flashcards, or blog posts

Sorry, we couldn’t find any lessons, resources, flashcards, or blog posts matching that search term.

Unsupported Browser

ESL Library may not function properly in Internet Explorer. We recommend using Google Chrome or Firefox instead.

Unsupported Browser

ESL Library may not function properly in older browsers. We recommend updating yours to the latest version for the best experience.

For those teachers who have recently had to make the switch to online teaching due to the COVID‑19 crisis, we are hosting a series of free webinars to help you make the most of our digital tools. Learn How to Register

How to Pronounce Hard & Soft G & C

February 13, 2020

Tanya how to pronounce hard and soft g and c banner

Unlike many languages that have a one-to-one sound/spelling correspondence, English pronunciation is notoriously difficult. There aren’t a lot of pronunciation rules for language learners to follow, and often it’s just a matter of hearing a word and memorizing how it sounds.

Sometimes, however, students can catch a break with certain letters or sounds that actually follow a set of pronunciation rules. Such is the case with the letters G and C!

From great to gym to cake to city, the letters G and C can be pronounced as a “hard” or “soft” sound. It often depends on the position of the letter in a word and on the letter that follows it.

Pronunciation Rules for G & C

Rule #1

When G or C is followed by E, I, or Y, the sound is soft.
Examples:

  • gender
  • gym
  • cell
  • cinnamon

Rule #2

When G or C is followed by A, O, or U, the sound is hard.
Examples:

  • gate
  • go
  • cat
  • cupboard

Rule #3

When G or C is followed by a consonant, the sound is hard.
Examples:

  • glass
  • program
  • fact
  • clock

Rule #4

When G or C is doubled, the sound is hard.
Examples:

  • egg
  • foggy
  • occur
  • broccoli

Rule #5

When a word ends in G or C (or CK), the sound is hard.
Examples:

  • bag
  • pig
  • magic
  • sick

Rule #6

When a word ends in G or C + E, the sound is soft.
Examples:

  • age
  • ridge
  • fence
  • office

Exceptions

Exception #1

Some common words do not follow the rules for hard and soft G, such as begin, get, and give.

Exception #2

Some words with a double C have a hard sound followed by a soft sound, such as accent, acceptable, and vaccine.

Exception #3

When G is followed by H, it is sometimes pronounced as /f/, such as cough, laugh, and enough. Other times it is silent, such as high, though, and bought.

Exception #4

When C is followed by H, it is pronounced as /tʃ/, such as cheese, watch, and church.

Exception #5

When a word ends in N + G, it is pronounced /ŋ/, such as sing, bring, and running.

Related

Not an ESL Library member?

Get unlimited access to 1,000+ lessons and 3,000+ flashcards.

Sign Up

Comments

Blog pencil

There are no comments on this post. Start the conversation!

Leave a Comment

Log In to Comment Reply

or
Comment Reply as a Guest
  • **bold**_italics_> quote

    This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

    Thinking of joining ESL Library?

    Complete this form to create an account and stay up to date on all the happenings here at ESL Library.