Sounds of letter U
How do we pronounce U and combinations starting with U in stressed syllables? Let's study cases and examples.
This long sound will often occur when
- the word begins with u
- there is a pattern U_сonsonant_E
- in the combination ue, even if the syllable is not stressed
- in some other words, we should learn those words together with their pronunciation
Ukraine, unicorn, uniform, unique, united, university, usually
abuse, amuse, refuse, cube, dispute, excuse, huge, duke
argue, continue, hue, rescue, value
accumulate, community, computer, Cuba, fuel, future, human, humour, music
If you have a closed syllable, i.e. when u is between two consonants, it might also be read /ʊ/ in some words.
bullet, bully, bush, butcher, cushion, full, pudding, pull, push, put, sugar
The combination ur almost always produces the long sound /ɜː/.
burn, burden, curse, fur, hurt, murder, surface, Thursday, turn
4) /jʊə/ or /ʊə/
Don't confuse ur with ure, this combination is generally pronounced /jʊə/ or /ʊə/.
cure, endure, pure, secure
If u is between two consonants in a stressed syllable, it will be pronounced /ʌ/ in most words.
bun, bus, butter, cut, fun, lunch, run, summer, Sunday, tunnel, under, up
There are two words where u and ui become short /ɪ/. You have to remember them.
busy — business, businessman, businesslike
build — building, built-in