Decoding exercises: "ar"
The letter combination "ar" has several different pronunciations, mainly /ɑːr/ and /eər/. This article sets out some words teachers can use to help their students become more aware of the differences.
- /ɑːr/: arm - art - bar - car - card - charge - dark - far - farm - guard - hard - large - mark - park - part - sharp - star - start - yard
- Misleading silent e: are
- Magic e /eər/: care - rare - scare - share - square - stare
- /ɔːr/: quart - war - warm - warn
At the beginning or in the middle of the word
- /ɑːr/: Argentina, argue, argument, Arkansas, army, article, artist, department, market, participant, party
- /eər/: aquarium, area, Bulgaria, canary, careful, hilarious, invariable, malaria, parent, scarce, scary, variable, various, vary
- ending in "arian": authoritarian, Bulgarian, humanitarian, Hungarian, librarian, vegetarian
- /ær/: apparel, apparent, Arizona, asparagus, characteristic, paragraph, transparent
- /ər/: arise, around, barista, cigarette, Hungary, parenthesis, separate, particular, variety
At the end of the word
- Magic e /eər/: aware - compare - declare - hardware - prepare - software
- /ɑːr/: avatar - cigar - guitar
- /ər/: burglar - calendar - caterpillar - cellular - circular - dollar - grammar - Madagascar - particular - popular - rectangular - regular - similar - solar - sugar
Followed by consonants
- /ɑːr/: apart - Denmark - regard - standard
- /ɔːr/: award - reward
- /ər/: awkward - Edward - forward - leopard - lizard - Richard - Spaniard - standard
- /ər/BrE /er/:AmE library, necessary, primary, temporary
- /r/BrE (silent "a"), /er/:AmE military, secretary
- /eər/BrE AmE /ær/AmE: parent
- towards /təˈwɔːrdz,BrE tɔːrdzAmE/
In North America 74% of speakers merge "Mary" and "marry" (see Mary-marry-merry merger). This means that all words marked /eər/ or /ær/ are pronounced alike (either [eər] or [er]).
This particular merger is sometimes called the "hairy-Harry merger".