Hard and Soft C and G

Updated February 21, 2017 | Factmonster Staff

The letters c and g can make spelling tricky. Each of these letters has a hard sound

hard c sound (kuh): cat, cup
hard g sound (guh): gap, goat

as well as a soft sound.

soft c sound (suh): cell, city
soft g sound (juh): gerbil, gym

Usually, a c or g sound is hard or soft depending on the vowel that follows it. Here's the general rule:

When c or g meets a, o, or u, its sound is hard.

cap, cave, colt, comedy, curly, cuddle
gas, gather, goblet, goddess, gum, gutter

When c or g meets e, i, or y, its sound is soft.

census, center, circle, citizen, cycle, cymbal
gel, general, giant, ginger, gypsy, gyrate

See also: Guide to Spelling.

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