Pronouncing ‘-OUGH’ words in English can be quite a challenge, even for more advanced English language speakers. To help demystify the vast amount of possibilities for ‘-OUGH’ words, here are six ways to pronounce them.

1) When the ‘-OUGH’ combination is pronounced ‘o’ or ‘ow’, it is usually followed by the consonant ‘f’ or ‘gh’ as in ‘dough’ or ‘enough’. Here, the ‘gh’ is usually silent and each word is pronounced with a short ‘o’ sound.

2) If the ‘-OUGH’ is followed by the consonant ‘l’, like in ‘cough’ and ‘tough’, the ‘gh’ is again normally silent and forms either an ‘ah’ or ‘uh’ sound.

3) The ‘-OUGH’ combination found in some words such as ‘thought’ and ‘although’ is pronounced with a ‘aw’ sound, again with the ‘gh’ being silent.

4) When ‘ough’ is followed by the letter ‘t’, as in ‘bought’ and ‘fought’, the ‘gh’ is again most often inaudible and the word is pronounced with similar consonants and a short ‘o’ sound.

5) The ‘-ough’ combination in some words like ‘plough’ and ‘drought’, when followed by the sound ‘n’ or ‘m’, is pronounced with a long ‘o’.

6) Finally, the ‘-ough’ combination can also be pronounced as a long ‘uːf’ in words like ‘though’ and ‘through’.

Though it can be tricky, with a bit of practice you should be able to pronounce ‘-OUGH’ words like a native speaker in no time!