in British English

Have you ever seen 'ou' before? Or have you read any articles about it? Well, even if you haven't, you're welcome here to join me and learn about it.

English Multigraph "ou"

'ou' is one of the most common digraphs in English grammar. In this lesson, we will learn how it is pronounced.

Digraphs are a set of two letters that stand together and produce a new sound.

Digraph ou
Name ui (pronounced /ˈəʊ ˈjuː/)
Sound(s) /aʊ/, /ʌ/, /uː/, /əʊ/, /ə/, /ɔ:/

The Digraph 'ou'

Sound 1: /aʊ/

'ou' always stands in the middle of words and it can sound /aʊ/:

house /haʊs/

cloud /klaʊd/

mountain /ˈmaʊn.tɪn/

fountain /ˈfaʊn.tən/

Sound 2: /ʌ/

'ou' in the middle of words also sounds /ʌ/:

touch /tʌtʃ/

tough /tʌf/

cousin /ˈkʌz.ən/

Sound 3: /uː/

'ou' standing in the middle of words or in the word 'you' can sound /uː/:

group /ɡruːp/

soup /suːp/

you /juː/

Sound 4: /əʊ/

'ou' standing in the middle of words can sound /əʊ/:

shoulder /ˈʃəʊldə(r)/

boulder /ˈbəʊldə(r)/

soul /səʊl/

Sound 5: /ə/

'ou' mainly in ous sounds /ə/:

enormous /ɪˈnɔː.məs/

famous /ˈfeɪ.məs/

glamorous /ˈɡlæm.ər.əs/

courageous /kəˈreɪ.dʒəs/

Sound 6: /ɔ:/

'ou' standing in the middle of words also sounds /ɔ:/ especially in the word 'tour' and its derived forms. Note that in British English it can sound/ʊə/.

contour /ˈkɒn.tɔː(r)/ or /ˈkɒntʊə(r)/

tour /tʊə(r)/, /tɔː(r)/

tourist /ˈtʊə.rɪst/, /ˈtɔː.rɪst/

Tip

In the word 'cough', the letters 'ou' sound /ɒ/:

cough /kɒf/

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