Pronouncing OF & OFF

Pronouncing OF & OFF

Pronouncing OF & OFF

Pronouncing OF & OFF

The little words OF and OFF cause a lot of (cauzəLOddə) problems for non native speakers. 

People are surprised when they learn the pronunciation rules for these two words.

Here’s how to pronounce the words OF and OFF clearly and distinctly.

We’ll start with the word OFF.

The word OFF has an /ɑ/ as in Olive vowel sound. It’s the same vowel sound in the word doctor or water.

The consonant sound is /f/.

Now we’ll analyze the word OF.

The word OF has a /ə/ schwa vowel sound. Schwa is our reduced vowel sound. It sounds like “uh”.

The consonant sound is /v/. That’s not a typo. ☺ The consonant sound is /v/. 

Let’s compare.

Now let’s compare the pronunciation of these two words.

  • OFF
  • əv

Listen here:

The word OF in casual speech.

The pronunciation of the word OF changes in casual speech.

For example, when the word OF is followed by a word that starts with a CONSONANT sound, native speakers will often drop the /v/ sound.

  • Time ə DAY
  • Out ə MONey

We drop the /v/ sound because it makes it easier to link words together.

So there you go, two little words that cause a lot of (əLOdə) problems.

About the author

Susan Ryan is an American English communication and accent reduction coach.

Contact her with your questions about clear American speech.