The English Sessions Podcast Episode: The ‘GH’ in English (Pronunciation: Taught; Thought; Tough; Though)


The ‘GH’ in English (Pronunciation: Taught; thought; tough; though)

Welcome to episode 39 of The English Sessions. The pronunciation of ‘GH’ in English. I am your host and English teacher, Mike Butler. These podcasts can help you improve your English! Together, we will talk about grammar… pronunciation… structure... and have some fun too. Remember to visit my website, to contact me for private lessons, and for more content.
You can also read the transcript of this audio on the website as you listen to this episode. For the full audio transcript, go to

Listen for these words today:

Brain freeze - A brain freeze is another way to say ‘mental confusion’. Confusion, in your mind; a brain freeze! A brain freeze also happens when you drink something very cold very quickly. OW! Have you ever had a brain freeze?

Thaw - to ‘thaw’ is to warm something frozen. Ice is frozen water. Water freezes into ice. So, you can thaw ice in order to have water.

All of my students and listeners know that the ‘gh’ in English words is frustrating. How do you pronounce these words!? Sometimes the ‘gh’ is silent; other times the ‘gh’ makes an English ‘f’ sound.

Today, I will talk about the common words that have ‘gh’ that my students struggle with. Then, I will use all of the words in a story. There are four words that confuse my students the most. Why? Because all four look very similar to each other! Today we will talk about these four words:

1. THOUGHT (SP) - Silent ‘gh’ - Thought (say) - I thought that I brushed my teeth already this morning! Thought. Thought [looks like: thawt]. Thought is the past tense of ‘think’. I think everyday. I thought yesterday. ‘Thought’ is also a noun. I have a ‘thought’. A ‘thought’ is an idea, in your mind. Thought.

2. THOUGH (SP) - Another silent ‘gh’ - Though (say) - My name is Michael, though everybody calls me Mike. Though. Synonyms of ‘though’ are although; however; but; even if. ‘Though’ is sometimes a conjunction, like ‘but’; ‘Though’ is sometimes an adverb, like ‘however’. Though [looks like: tho]. My name is Michael, though everybody calls me Mike.

3. TAUGHT (SP) - Silent ‘gh’ once again - Taught (say) - I taught students from Brazil yesterday. Taught [looks like: tawt]. ‘Taught’ is the past tense of ’teach’. I am a teacher. I teach English. Yesterday, I taught English to students from Brazil. I taught English yesterday. Taught!

4. TOUGH (SP) - An English ‘f’ sound - Tough (say) - Tough [looks like: tuff]! Tough is a synonym for ‘hard’ or ‘difficult’. Some words in English are tough to pronounce! It is tough to pronounce some words in English. Tough!

For the rest of the audio transcript, go to


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