Perfect Pronunciation: letter c pronunciation guide

 In Pronunciation tips, Quick tips

I was speaking to Simon, a fellow Friendly Teacher, on Friday and we got to talking about common questions from our students, we soon realised that a common problem area is letter c pronunciation.

In fact, both of us have lost count of the number of times a student has been confused by letter c pronunciation. The main problem being that when learning new vocabulary, nobody seems quite sure when they should to use the hard “c” sound: /k/ or the soft “c” sound: /s/.

So, to ensure that all of our students, and readers of this blog, will never have this problem again, I’ve written this blog – follow these two really simple rules to ensure that letter c pronunciation will never confuse you again:

  • If the “c” comes before the letters i, e, or y then we use the soft /s/ sound.
  • If the “c” comes before ANY other letter in the alphabet, we use the hard /k/ sound.

Letter c pronunciation rules

And that’s it – it really is that simple!

Now all you need to do is learn these two rules, and you will always have perfect letter c pronunciation. (As you can probably guess, the /k/ sound is much more common, though you will use both of these sounds often.)

Below I’ve created a small table with a list of some words so that you can practice. Remember, it’s an /s/ sound if the c is before i, e and y, for all other letters we use the /k/ sound.

Try pronouncing the words in the table to improve and perfect your letter c pronunciation.

Words using hard 'c'Words using soft 'c'
catpolice
cornercentre
difficultcity
countryrice
cakespace

And, please remember, you can always comment or email me if you have any confusion or questions.

I hope this helps some of you!

Michael

**Learn English with Michael one-to-one on Skype and practice your letter c pronunciation directly from a qualified native British English teacher**

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