How Do You Pronounce Exactly?

How Do You Pronounce Exactly?

The people who I work with in my accent reduction program often ask me to help them with the pronunciation of the word exactly. ✔


A Tricky Word to Pronounce

Exactly is a tricky word to pronounce!

Do you know why?……It’s the letter X.


The Letter X has 2 Pronunciations

One reason the word exactly is difficult to pronounce  is because in American English, the letter X has 2 different pronunciations.

Most people don’t realize that!  ☝


3 Rules for Pronouncing the Letter X

Here are 3 rules that will help you:

1. When the letter X is followed by a stressed vowel it is pronounced like /gz/.

  • exact sounds like egza→ct
  • What’s his egza→ct location?
  • exactly sounds like egza→ctly
  • She’s egza→ctly right.


2. When the letter X is followed by a consonant sound it’s pronounced like /ks/.

  • extreme sounds like ekstre→me
  • His behavior is very ekstre→me.
  • context sounds like  co→ntekst
  • I understand a word when I hear it in co→ntekst.


3. When the letter X is pronounced as /ks/ when it comes at the end of a word.

  • tax sounds like taks
  • Is there taks on that item?


What’s that → ?

By the way, when you see an → after a vowel here on my blog,  it means you should lengthen it.

Using vowel length is really important if you want Americans to understand you!!


Does Everyone Have This Problem?

The letter X is often a problem for Indian English speakers, Spanish, Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese & Korean speakers.


American Accent & Pronunciation Books

If the letter X or other American English consonants are creating challenges for you, take a look at these American accent & pronunciation books.

Invest in some training so that you can start communicating more clearly!