You may well have asked yourself why there are many hard to pronounce words in English. However, the problem is not so much the pronunciation, but rather the actual spelling of  words. Some languages are  phonetic, which means that when you know how to pronounce a word, you will also know how to spell it.


If English were «phonetic» it wouldn’t have  so many hard words to spell and we might see this for example: inglish duznt meik sens!


phonetic spelled
Why isn’t phonetic spelled the way it sounds?


As a result, many words have the same spelling but different pronunciation, for example:

I like to read 

I read that book too


Similarly, Some words have different spelling but the same pronunciation, for example:


I read that book too

Red light


Why are English words hard to spell?

English spelling is the most difficult of all  Western languages.  The reason for this is the history of the English language and its mixture of words originating from Old English, Latin, Old Scandinavian, and French. This mix means that English incorporates words and spelling from all these different languages. Furthermore, while the pronunciation of words evolved over time, the spelling was not updated.

Have a look at  the spelling ‘ough’  with 7 different corresponding sounds!

  • oh  =    though
  • ow  =   bough 
  • oo  =    through
  • aw  =   thought
  • ohf  =  cough
  • uhf  =  enough
  • uhp =  hiccough 


7 Hard to pronounce words in English

Let’s look at some common words that sound very different from how they are spelled. They are hard words to say if you have been pronouncing them incorrectly, so you might be in for a surprise!









Now put yourself to the test with the following video where you will see the above difficult words and more:

Top mispronounced words in English


To conclude for today, when in doubt about how to pronounce a hard or complicated word in English , it’s always best to check the phonetic spelling!  That way you’ll sound more natural and confident in English conversation.