Decoding the letter G
The letter G, lower case g or g (pronounced /dʒiː/) normally represents the sound /g/ (game, get, girl, glass, great, gun, bag), except before "e", "i" or "y" where it often represents /dʒ/ (germ, change, imagine, energy).
"Ga", "go", "gu", etc.[edit | edit source]
"G" sounds /g/ everywhere with many exceptions in "ge", gi", and "gy", i.e. followed by "a", "o", "u" or a consonant, or at the end of the word, it is almost sure that "g" sounds /g/.
- At the beginning of the word:
- "ga", "go", "gu": gain, game, gap, garden, gas, gasp, gather, go, goal, gold, gone, good, government, gun
- "gl", "gr": glass, global, great, green, Greece, ground, group, grow, growth
- In the middle of the word: again, against, ago, agree, argue, argument, degree, figure, ignore, legal, organization, pregnant, program, recognize, regard, regular, segment, signal, significant, single, struggle
Silent u[edit | edit source]
- Redundant silent u: catalogue, colleague, dialogue, guard, guarantee, league
- Before "e", "i" or "y": guess, guest, guide, guilty, Guinea, guitar, guy
Exceptions as /dʒ/[edit | edit source]
- the old spelling "gaol"BrE currently is replaced by "jail", except in proper names, such as Derby Gaol.
"Ge", "gi" or "gy"[edit | edit source]
- begin, eager, finger, forget, gear, geese, get, gift, giggle, girl, give, gynaecology,BrE gynecology,AmE meagerAmE (British spelling is meagre), target, tiger, together
- agency, agent, Algeria, Argentina, arrange, Belgium, Egypt, danger, emerge, energy, engine, engineer, gel, gem, gender, gene, general, generation, George, germ, Germany, giant, gibberish, gist, gym, gynaecology,BrE gynecology,AmE imagine, intelligence, legislation, management, manager, marriage, Nigeria, original, package, passenger, percentage, region, register, religion, strategy, suggest, technology, Virginia
- Ending in "ge" (see also silent e): advantage, age, average, challenge, change, charge, college, damage, encourage, engage, exchange, gentleman, huge, image, language, large, manage, message, page, passage, range, stage, strange, urge, village, wage
All English words that have IPA phoneme /ʒ/ spelled as "g" are of foreign origin, mainly French.
- beige - collage - gendarme - massage - mirage - rouge - sabotage
As /ʒ/ or /dʒ/
"gg"[edit | edit source]
In most cases "gg" sounds /g/, even before "e", "i" or "y"
- As /g/: bigger, buggy, dagger, foggy, mugger, nugget, piggy, ragged /ˈræɡɪd/, trigger
- past tense of verbs and -ing form: bagged, bagging, begged, begging, dragged, dragging, drugged, drugging, hugged, hugging, plugged, plugging
Variant pronunciations[edit | edit source]
- gif /ɡɪf, dʒɪf/
- gigabyte /ˈɡɪɡəbaɪt, ˈdʒɪɡəbaɪt/
Silent "g"[edit | edit source]
- "gn": assign - campaign - design - foreign - gnat - gnome - gnostic - gnu - resign - sign
- "gm": diaphragm - paradigm - phlegm
For silent "gh" see Decoding exercises: "gh"
G in combinations[edit | edit source]
- "dge", "dgi" as /dʒ/
- acknowledge, bridge, budget, dodge, edge, fidget, gadget, judge, knowledge, pidgin, wedgie
- "dg" before a consonant as /dʒ/ (mainly American spelling)
- abridgement/abridgment, acknowledgement/acknowledgment, judgment/judgment
- as /f/: cough, laugh, enough, rough, tough
- as /g/: ghetto, ghost, spaghetti
- silent "gh": although, daughter, fight, high, light, might, neighbor, night, right, though, thought, through, throughout, weight
- See also: Decoding exercises: "gh"
- as /gn/: ignore, pregnant, recognize, signal, significant
- as /n/, see § Silent "g"
- in words of French and Italian origin (see also IPA phonetic symbol [ɲ])
- "ng" normally sounds /ŋ/ and it can sound /ŋg/. See Decoding exercises: "ng".
- Washington Township Public Schools, Within Word Stage Feature I - Complex Consonant Patterns, Sewell, NJ.