‘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’!