How to Pronounce ou

When I work with my accent reduction coaching clients, I always make sure to provide them with a solid foundation of the American English vowel sounds.

Note that I said vowel SOUNDS!

This is important! ✔

Many people (both native & non-native speakers) are unaware that the 5 vowel letters, a, e, i, o & u actually make 15 different sounds.

Once my accent reduction clients learn which vowel sounds to use, they’re able to clear up many of their problems with pronunciation!

Today I’m going to write briefly on the SOUNDS of the vowel combination ou.

The vowel combination ou can be pronounced 3 ways in American English.


ou can be pronounced like /oʊ/. I call this /ow/ as in ROSE.

  • shoulder
  • soul
  • though
  • doughnut
  • although

ou can be pronounced like “uh” /ʌ/. I call this /ʌ/ as in MUSTARD.

  • cousin
  • enough
  • country
  • tough
  • couple

ou can be pronounced like /aʊ/. I call this /aw/ as in BROWN.

  • loud
  • sound
  • south
  • found
  • house

☆ If you’re ready to take your American English communication skills up to the next level, check out my iBook, American Accent Fundamentals by following the button below.☆

American Accent Fundamentals - Susan M. Ryan

My iBook will teach you to say the American English vowel sounds using fun audio lessons! The first chapter is FREE so check it out.