Knowing when the pronounce the C consonant as a hard or soft sound is actually pretty simple. Learn the rule by following along with me in my video guide below.
Like the G consonant, the C consonant also has two sounds: hard C /k/ as in car and the soft C /s/ in celebrate.
Practice along with me in this short video.
Hard C /k/ sound
The hard C /k/ sounds like a K sound . A short, sharp breath out is used to make the hard C sound.
Let’s try the word call. Now let’s try candy.
Soft C /s/ sound
The soft C /s/ is unvoiced. It sounds like an S /s/.
Remember this easy rule: The C sound is a soft /s/ if the letter that follows a C is an E or Y vowel.
The soft C sounds like a snake hissing. It’s pronounced with the S in the form of a smile. Think of the Joker in Batman. The front of the tongue is on the roof of the mouth. When you push your breath out through your teeth, it will almost sound like you’re about to whistle.
Let’s practice the word city. Now let’s try celebrate.
Words with both C sounds
Let’s try a word with both the hard C and the soft C: cycle.
Cycle has two C sounds, a soft C /s/ in the first syllable and a hard C /k/ in the last syllable.
Now let’s try another: success.
Did you hear the two C sounds? There's a hard C /k/ in the first syllable and a soft C /s/ in the last syllable.