OUGH is pronounced at least 5 different ways in English!
In today’s lesson, I’m going to teach you how to pronounce some common words that are spelled with -OUGH. Remember to practice your pronunciation by repeating after me – because the best way to improve your pronunciation is to practice it actively!
You can get a lot more practice inside my American English Pronunciation Course, which will teach you all the sounds in the English language. Click on the link for more information and to sign up.
1. Pronounced like the “o” in “no”
dough, though, although, thorough, thoroughly
Dough (n.) = a soft mass used to make bread; a mix of flour, water, milk, etc
- I want to make my own bread, but I need a recipe for the dough.
Though / Although (conj.) = these words are used with a contrasting situation
- Although he studied very hard, he failed the test.
- He’s the most handsome man I’ve ever seen! I think he has a girlfriend, though.
Thorough (adj.) / Thoroughly (adv.) = done in a complete and detailed way
- I did a thorough analysis of the situation; I studied every part of the problem.
- The police searched the house thoroughly – they looked in every corner of every room.
2. Pronounced like the “aw” in “saw”
bought, brought, ought, fought, thought
Bought (v.) = Simple past of “buy”
- I bought milk and eggs at the supermarket
Brought (v.) = Simple past of “bring”
- I brought a good book to read on the train.
Ought (aux. v.) = Should
- If you’re sick, you ought to see a doctor.
Fought (v.) = Simple past of “fight”
- I fought with my brother last week. He’s still angry and he’s not speaking to me.
Thought (v.) = Simple past of “think”
- I thought about buying a car, but then I decided to buy a motorcycle instead.
3. Pronounced like “uff” in “stuff”
enough, rough, tough
Enough (adj.) = Sufficient
- I was so busy that I didn’t have enough time to do my homework yesterday.
Rough (adj.) = With an irregular, uneven surface (the opposite of “smooth”)
- The skin on his hands is rough because he works in manufacturing.
Tough (adj.) = Strong, not easy to break or cut
- This meat is so tough that I can’t cut it with my knife.
4. Pronounced like “off”
Cough (v.) = When you’re sick, to put air out of your mouth and make a sound.
- She’s very sick – she can’t stop coughing.
5. Pronounced like the “oo” in “too”
Through (prep.) = To go in one side and out the other side.
- The car drove through the tunnel.