I wanna tell you about the multigraph 'gh'. Most native speakers aren't familiar with these concepts so, you'll be one step ahead.

English Multigraph "gh"

The letter 'g' and 'h' are two consonants making the digraph 'gh' producing new sounds.

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

Digraph gh
Name gh (pronounced /'geeˈeɪtʃ/)
Sound(s) /f/, /ø/, /g/

The Digraph 'gh'

Sound 1: /f/

  • ough

'gh' in 'ough' sounds /f/. Keep in mind that 'ough' stands at the end of words:

tough /tʌf/

rough /rʌf/

cough /kɑːf/

enough /əˈnʌf/

Sound 2: /ø/

  • ough

'gh' in 'ough' is silent /ø/,

though /ðoʊ/

although /ɑːlˈðoʊ/

furlough /ˈfɝː.loʊ/

borough /ˈbɝː.oʊ/

  • ought

'gh' in 'ought' is silent /ø/, so 'ought' sounds /ɑːt/ in American English or /ɔːt/ in British English when it comes at the end of words.

thought /θɑːt/

fought /fɑːt/

sought /sɑːt/

wrought /rɑːt/

Tip

'ought' rarely comes in the middle of words and if it does, 'gh' is also silent /ø/, and 'ought' sounds /aʊ.t̬/.

doughty /ˈdaʊ.t̬i/

  • aught

'gh' in aught is silent /ø/ too. So, 'aught' stands in the middle of words and sounds /ɔːt/ in British English or /ɑːt/ in American English.

slaughter /ˈslɑː.t̬ɚ/

daughter /ˈdɑː.t̬ɚ/

naughty /ˈnɑː.t̬i/

haughty /ˈhɑː.t̬i/

  • ight

'gh' in 'ight' is silent /ø/ too. So, 'ight' sounds /aɪt/ at the end of words.

sight /saɪt/

light /laɪt/

right /raɪt/

fight /faɪt/

Tip

'gh' in 'ight' is silent too but 'ight' sounds /eɪt/ when it comes after 'e' or 'a' in such words:

eight /eɪt/

straight /streɪt/

Sound 2: /g/

'gh' sometimes sounds /g/ especially in British English.

yoghurt /ˈjoʊ.ɡɚt/

dinghy /ˈdɪŋ.ɡi/

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