Most consonants in English can only be pronounced in one way. However, there are a few exceptions. One of these is the letter ‘c’. This can be pronounced like /s/, which is a soft sound, or like /k/, which is a hard sound. 

Learners can work out how the letter is pronounced by reading and hearing sentences that contain the letter ‘c’. 

For example: 

  • The traffic is bad in the city. 
  • Only take the medicine in an emergency. 
  • I’ve been to the cinema twice this week. 
  • I need to collect the parcel. 
  • Please call the police! 

Learners can listen to the sentences and circle the letter ‘c’ when it is pronounced /k/ and underline it when it is pronounced /s/. Then they can work out the pattern before saying the sentences. 

The pattern for the letter ‘c’ is that it is usually pronounced as /s/ before the letters ‘e’, ‘i’ or ‘y’ and as /k/ everywhere else. 


Consonants: A non-vowel sound. Consonants are pronounced by stopping the air from flowing easily through the mouth, e.g. ‘b’, ‘g’, ‘k’, ‘t’, ‘v’. 

Pattern: A specific way in which something is done or organised.