Letter x Pronunciation: k+s or g+z
Students and teachers cannot assume that the letter x is always pronounced with the more commonly known k sound + s sound pronunciation.
In English, the x spelling has two possible pronunciations:
- k sound + s sound (box)
- g sound + z sound (exact)
x = g sound + z sound
The pronunciation of the letter x will be that of the g sound + z sound when both of the following are true:
- The word's stressed syllable begins immediately after the letter x
- The x is followed by a vowel sound
x = s sound + k sound
The letter x will be pronounced as the k sound + s sound when both of the above are not true.
Also, the letter x will be pronounced as the k sound +s sound when it is the final letter of the word. Note: Inflectional suffixes such as -es and -ed can be added to words ending in the letter x without changing the pronunciation from the k sound + s sound (examples include the words fixes and fixed).
There are a few exceptions to the letter x pronunication patterns. The following words are pronounced as g sound + z sound, even though syllable stress under the rules presented above would not dictate it:
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Pronunciation Pages 2
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