Crazy English pronunciation – „-ough“

Spelling and pronunciation have a rocky relationship in English at the best of times. But one of the most difficult letter combinations for English-learners to pronounce is „-ough“.  And it’s no wonder. There are at least TEN different ways to pronounce „-ough“! But the LINGUA FRANCA blog is here to help.

Below is a list of common words with „-ough“ (and their German translation), and in each word the combination is pronounced differently. Do you know how to say them all?

enough (genug) bought (gekauft)
cough (husten) through (durch)
drought (Dürre) thorough
though (jedoch) hiccough (Schluckauf)

To help you work out the pronunciation, you can match each word above to the word below where the letters on bold are pronounced the same.

off / slow / up / butter (UK) or slow (US)  / stuff / you / door / out

The answers have been written in white at the bottom of this post. To make them visible, simply highlight the area below this paragraph. Good luck!

enough stuff bought door
cough off through you
drought out thorough butter / slow
though slow hiccough up