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I noticed a mistake that some of my students are making with this word: ALLOW. They are saying it like “alloe,” but it’s actually pronounced “allow.” It’s funny, the words low (the opposite of high) and below (which means “under”) have the same “o” sound in “no” – low, below. But the word allow has the ow sound as in the words now and how.
So is there any sort of rule for when to pronounce ow each way? Unfortunately, not really. English pronunciation is very irregular, and you just need to remember the individual pronunciation of each word.
But when thinking about words that end in the letters -ow, I realized that most of the words with this ending have the “o” sound like in “no” and “low.” Let’s practice some of them – listen and repeat.
There are only a few words that end in -ow which are pronounced with the ow sound in “how.” Let’s practice these:
What about the word spelled BOW? This is an interesting one because it has two pronunciations, with two different meanings. When pronounced bow like low, it’s a noun refers to a curved object like a bow and arrow, or a bow on a present. We also have a rainbow.
When pronounced bow like how, it refers to the action of bending or inclining your body to respect or honor someone. Some cultures bow as a form of greeting, or in some religions.
Thanks for practicing your pronunciation with me! I hope you’ll join my American English Pronunciation Course for more lessons that will help you practice all the sounds in the English language and avoid pronunciation mistakes.