Pronouncing “Clothes” and other related words!

Pronouncing “Clothes” and Other Related Words!

American English pronunciation is so confusing because the spelling is unreliable. Today’s lesson is an example of the discrepancies of 5 words with similar spellings and their pronunciations. Wow! The good news, is that we will take care of a few of these challenging words right now!

In today’s lesson, we have words that are written the same but pronounced differently-and- words that are spelled differently and pronounced the same. American English is so weird! Listen to the following recording and read the descriptions of each word below! I encourage you to listen to the recording and read along. Then listen to the recording again and repeat the sentences without reading along! That way, you are practicing TALKING not READING!

You can do it!

1. Pronouncing “Clothes” /kl o z/

Clothes-items worn to cover the body

Pronunciation tips: There is NO “th” in the pronunciation of the word “clothes.”

Say the vowel sound /o/  l-o-n-g-er. This is what American listeners are listening for!

The final sound is a /z/

Practice sentences

  1. I need to buy some new clothes
  2. Put your clothes in the closet.


2. Pronouncing “close”  /kl o z/

close (verb)- to shut something.

Pronunciation tips: “clothes” and “close” sound exactly the same! Follow the same tips as written for “clothes”

Say the vowel sound /o/ l-o-n-g-e-r. This is what American listeners are listening for!

Practice sentences

  1.  Open and close.
  2. Can you close eye and keep the other eye open? (Can you wink?)

3. Pronouncing “close”  /kl o s/

close (adjective)- to be near something or someone.

Pronunciation tips:  Say the vowel sound shorter.

Pronounce the “s-s-s” sound at the end.

Practice sentence

  1. Don’t stand so close to me! -Sting, singer from The Police

Listen to Sting sing this song HERE!

3. Pronouncing “cloth”  /kl a th/

cloth (noun)-A fabric of quality or a rag used for cleaning.

Pronunciation tip: Open your mouth wide to say the vowel sound “ah”

The final TH is not voiced. Put your tongue in-between your teeth and blow air around your tongue.

Practice sentence:

  1. The directions say to wipe it clean with a damp cloth.

4. Pronouncing “clothing”  /kl o th ing/

clothing (noun)-A collection of clothes

Pronunciation tip:  The TH is voiced, so keep your voice on for the entire word.

The vowel sound is “O”, keep your lips rounded.

Practice sentence:

  1. He buys his suits at the men’s clothing store.

American English Pronunciation Predictors

There are a few pronunciation predictors in these words. And sometimes, it’s not as clear.

For example, today we learned that if a word ends in a Voiced Sound such as a /z/ sound, we should say the word longer. Stretch out the vowel sound.  This is used in the two words that end in a /z/ sound- “clothes” and  “close” (verb)-the opposite of open.

Sometimes the letter “O” is pronounced with an /o/ sound -in the words “clothes”, “close” and “clothing”

Sometimes the letter “O” is pronounced with an /a/ sound-and we need to open our mouths- in the  words “cloth” and “closet”

Try this practice tip

Write all of these words and sentences on one side of an index card and on the other side write the correct pronunciation. Quiz yourself! Can you say them all correctly? Keep reviewing. Your success should continue to get better. Good luck, I know you can do it!