Unit 2.1

Letter: w


The letter w has different pronunciations depending on its position inside words.


The letter w can be pronounced differently depending on its position in the word and the letters that follow.

Uppercase Lowercase Phonology
W w /w/ or /aʊ/
WH wh /w/ or /h/
WR wr /r/


  • -w at the end of the word:
    • how;
    • know;
    • rainbow.
  • wh– before i, a, e:
    • whale;
    • wheel;
    • white.
  • wh- before o:
    • who;
    • whole;
    • wholesale.
  • wr-:
    • wrap;
    • write;
    • wrong.


When w is the last letter of a word is pronounced as /aʊ/ (ou)

  • -w = /aʊ/

When w is together with h (wh) and they are at the beginning of the word and followed by i, a, e, the pronunciation is /w/. In contrast, if the letter that follows is o, it is pronounced aspirated as /h/.

  • wh- + a, i, e = /w/
  • wh- + o = /h/

When w is together with r (wr) and they are at the beginning of the word, the pronunciation is /r/.

  • wr- = /r/


External link to Letter: w exercises (1208).