The Letter C

In this lesson, we will learn about all the sounds of the letter C. It is the third letter of the English alphabet. Now, ready for a new adventure?

"The Letter C" in the English Alphabet

'C' is the third letter in the English alphabet. It is a consonant in the English language.

Consonants are the letters that are produced by stopping the letter from flowing easily.

Uppercase Form C
Lowercase c
Name si (pronounced /ˈsi:/)
Common Sounds /s/, /k/

The Letter C: Sounds

Common Sounds

In English, the letter c mainly has two sounds:

Sound 1: /s/

c (before e, i, y) as in 'city' has the /s/ sound:

city /ˈsɪt̬.i/

certificate /sɚˈtɪf.ə.kət/

cinema /ˈsɪn.ə.mə/

cylinder /ˈsɪl.ɪn.dɚ/

Sound 2: /k/

c before other vowels as in 'car' has the /k/ sound:

car /kɑːr/

cactus /ˈkæk.təs/

camp /kæmp/

The Letter C: Multigraphs

Letter c can sometimes be combined with other vowels or consonants to produce a different sound:

cc

'cc' before i, e, y generally represents /ks/:

accident /ˈæk.sə.dənt/

succeed /səkˈsiːd/

coccyx /ˈkɑːk.sɪks/

ch

'c' in combination with 'h' generally represents /tʃ/:

torch /tɔːrtʃ/

church /tʃɝːtʃ/

chop /tʃɑːp/

cheer /tʃɪr/

'ch' also has the /ʃ/ sound in French loanwords:

machine /məˈʃiːn/

moustache /ˈmʌs.tæʃ/

chef /ʃef/

'c' combined with 'h' also sounds /k/:

choreography /ˌkɔːr.iˈɑː.ɡrə.fi/

choir /ˈkwaɪ.ɚ/

chord /kɔːrd/

Tip

Remember that in the word schedule 's' is pronounced in American English; however, in British English, 's' is pronounced with 'che' as /ʃ/.

ck

'c' in 'ck' has the sound /k/, in other words 'ck' sounds /k/:

bucket /ˈbʌk.ɪt/

sock /sɑːk/

duck /dʌk/

sc

'sc' has the sound /s/:

scientist /ˈsaɪən.tɪst/

scent /sent/

sci

'sc' in 'sci' has the /ʃ/ sound:

conscious /ˈkɑːn.ʃəs/

luscious /ˈlʌʃ.əs/

conscience /ˈkɑːn.ʃəns/

cqu

'cq' in 'cqu' has the sound /k/:

acquire /əˈkwaɪɚ/

acquaint /əˈkweɪnt

racquet /ˈræk.ɪt/

cio

'c' in 'cio' has the /ʃ/ sound:

vicious /ˈvɪʃ.əs/

delicious /dɪˈlɪʃ.əs/

The Letter C: Uses

The letter c is also
An abbreviation used instead of Celsius or centigrade after numbers: 10 C
A computer programming language
A grade or mark at universities like c+ c-
A musical note

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