Decoding the letter W

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w

work /wɜːrk/

The letter W, lower case w (pronounced /ˈdʌbəljuː/) normally represents IPA phoneme /w/. For examples see IPA phoneme /w/.

Exceptions[edit | edit source]

  • Silent "w" (see also W in combinations, below)
answer - sword - toward /tɔːrd,AmE təˈwɔːrdBrE/ - towards /tɔːrdz,AmE təˈwɔːrdzBrE/
  • Rwanda /ruːˈɑːndə, ruːˈændə/

W in combinations[edit | edit source]

  • "aw" normally sounds /ɔː/
awful - draw - law - raw - saw
Exceptions (as "a" + "w"): away - aware - award - Delaware - Hawaii
  • As /uː/: blew - brew - chew - crew - drew - jewel - screw - threw
  • As /juː/ or /uː/: knew - new - stew
  • As /juː/: few
  • /əʊ/: know - row - window
  • /aʊ/: brown - down - towel
  • /ɒ/: knowledge
  • "wr" sounds like "r"
wrap - wrapper - wrist - write - wrong
  • "wh" in contemporary English in most dialects is identical to "w".
what - wheel - when - where - while - whisper - white - whopper - why
Exceptions as /h/: who - whole - whose

Homophones[edit | edit source]

  • wheel - we'll; wrap - rap; wright - right - rite - write;
  • aloud - allowed; flour - flower; threw - through

See also[edit | edit source]