English Pronunciation: Sounds with O

O sounds

The American O sounds can be difficult. There are 3 distinct sounds, the short O as in “hot,” the long O as in “boat,” and the reduced O. The phonetic name is the schwa sound, as in “above” (say “abuv”). The basic rules are these:

  • Use short O for simple spellings in words or word parts
  • Use long O with complex spellings, i.e., a silent vowel near the O
  • Use the reduced O (the “u” as in “up”) sometimes when O is not stressed
  • Most exceptions to the above rules will be found in very common words

Overall, the best thing to do is realize that O has three sounds. Listen carefully to American English speakers and take the time to look up the pronunciation of words.

Watch Video

Short OLong OReduced O
beyondboneabove
blogbowlblood
bodyboldlabor
broughtbrokebrother
complementcombcompany
conferenceaccordingcomplete
confidentcoursecountry
costcoldcover
dogdon’tdiscover
dollarsdonatedevelop
holidayhomehoney
involveinnovateincome
jobjokemajor
lossalonetailor
lotloadlove
modernmotivatemonth
officeordereffort
oftenoldoccur
onlineonlyother
possiblepostpossess
probablyprobepolice
problemproseprocedure
productprogramposition
profitproteinpotential
rockroadreligion
softsconesome
solidsoldsolidity
solvesocialsociety
stockstolesolution
thoughtthoughthorough
tosstoasttoday
wokworework

Notes on Other Spellings and Sounds

AU/AW – usually has a short O sound: audio, cause, auto, launch, draw, saw, law, awful
OU/OW (double vowel as in “ouch”): down, flower, vowel, out, south, accounting, round, sound, pound, found, about, count, brown, thousand
OI/OY (double vowel, long O to long E): point, boy
OO (spelling of a long U sound): boot, food. Or use a relaxed sound as in “book.” Study these sounds.

To perfect your O sounds, try these words that have 2 different O sounds: download, follow, broccoli, common, thorough, outrageous, commodity, outsource, opposite, cholesterol, coronary, technology, economy, opponent, and proposal.

Processing…
Success! You're on the list.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s