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How to pronounce CON at the beginning of English words?

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A student asks, “How do you pronounce CON at the beginning of English words?”

It depends – there are two pronunciations depending on whether that syllable is stressed.

We pronounce it CON in words like CONfident, CONcept, and CONstant – when the stress is on that syllable.

But we pronounce it more like “cun” in words like con-FUSE, con-DI-tion, and con-CERN – when the stress is on a different syllable.

Pronounce it CON when the syllable is stressed, and “cun” when that syllable is not stressed.

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