‘I axed him!’ How to pronounce ‘ask’.

What’s the problem?

It is very hard to pronounce all of the sounds in the word quickly, so native speakers often omit the /k/ and the ‘ed’ ending. If you try and pronounce all the sounds it can cause mistakes.

How do I get it right?

‘ask’ is pronounced:

/ɑ:s/ before a consonant (‘ask them’) without a /k/ sound.

Ask them to do it

/ɑ:sk/ before a vowel (‘ask if’) with a /k/ sound.

Ask if they’ll do it

‘asked’ is pronounced:

/ɑ:s/ before a consonant (‘asked them’) without a /k/ or a /t/ sound.

We asked them to do it

/ɑ:st/ before a vowel (‘asked if’) without a /k/ sound.

We asked if they’d do it

So the only time you pronounce the ‘k’ in ask/asked is when ‘ask’ is followed by a vowel.

Also be careful with the vowel sound – it is long, open, relaxed /ɑ:/, but it is reduced due to the following voiceless consonants, so it isn’t as long as ‘card’ for example.

What happens if I get it wrong?

The most common mistake is to say something like /akst/ with the ‘k’ before the /s/. Literally this means ‘axed’, so the sentence ‘I asked him’ would become ‘I axed him’!

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By | 2017-02-20T09:17:58+00:00 August 22nd, 2013|Pronunciation, Words|3 Comments


  1. Tahmina moeen March 29, 2016 at 7:26 am - Reply

    Nice and thanx

    • Tariq February 20, 2017 at 5:52 am - Reply


  2. Andrew January 15, 2018 at 4:46 am - Reply

    I have been wondering about this for quite a while now, since everywhere I hear people pronounce it like “ast” for “asked”. Good to know that my assumptions were correct all this time.

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