- “oo” – took, good
- “u” – put, bush
- “o” – wolf, woman
- “oul” – would, should
Grammar Tip: The sound /ʊ/ is in several important modal verbs: could, should, would. These modal verbs are special auxiliary verbs that affect the meaning of the verb following the modal.
These are both high, back, rounded vowels. However, /ʊ/ is a lax vowel and /uw/ is a tense vowel. In order to pronounce /ʊ/, your tongue must be relaxed.
You can hear the difference between /ʊ/ and /uw/ in these words.
Now compare /ʊ/ with /ʌ/:
These vowels often have the same spelling in English, and they are both lax vowels. However, /ʊ/ is a high, back, rounded vowel and /ʌ/ is a mid, central, unrounded vowel. When you pronounce /ʊ/, your lips must be rounded.
Now, practice /ʊ/ in sentences. Say the words first, then the sentences.
Have you read any good books lately?
2. put – sugar – pudding
Where did you put the sugar for the pudding?
3. pushed – bushes
The kids pushed the wagon behind the bushes.
4. should – look – textbook
You should look at the review section of the textbook.
5. sure – understood
I’m not sure I understood you correctly.
6. childhood – full - good
My childhood was full of good experiences.
To practice with different varieties of English, choose another native English speaker by clicking one of the links below: