Decoding the letter G

From Teflpedia

age /eidʒ/


egg /eg/

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
  • At the end of the word: bag, catalog,AmE dialog,AmE dig, dog, drag, drug, egg, flag, leg, log, pig

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]

  • margarine
  • 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]

As /g/

  • begin, eager, finger, forget, gear, geese, get, gift, giggle, girl, give, gynaecology,BrE gynecology,AmE meagerAmE (British spelling is meagre), target, tiger, together

As /dʒ/

  • 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

As /ʒ/

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/

  • garage

"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
  • As /dʒ/: exaggerate
  • suggest: /səˈdʒest,BrE AmE səgˈdʒestAmE/

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
  • "gh"
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"
  • "gn"
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])
as /nj/: cognac, gnocchi, lasagna,AmE lasagne,BrE poignant
as /n/: champagne