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50 Words

Confident Speech Software

Everyone agrees! It can be tricky to pronounce some words in English correctly. Confident Speech selected frequently mispronounced words and developed  software to help you learn and remember the correct pronunciations. These self-study programs are easy, fun, affordable, and (best of all!) foolproof.

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How do you pronounce often?

Do you pronounce often with a /t/ sound or without a /t/ sound?

The word often is a fascinating example of language in the process of change.  Random House Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary states that English speakers consistently said often with a /t/ sound before the 17th century.  However, in the 17th century, the pronunciation of often without the /t/ sound gained favor with educated speakers.  

For hundreds of years in modern times, often was pronounced without a /t/ sound.

In recent years, however, more and more people have been saying often with a /t/ sound, just as it is spelled.  Nowadays, you hear many educated speakers using either pronunciation. So, in a sense, both pronunciations are now standard.

Our observation and the results of our survey suggest that a majority of people still say often without the /t/ sound.  However, both pronunciations are very widely heard.  

What is our recommendation for pronouncing this word today?  

It’s fine to say often with or without the /t/ sound. However, there are still some people who prefer that the /t/ not be pronounced. If you pronounce often without a /t/ sound, nobody will object.

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