“Can you please answer the phone?”
“We are taking the kids to the dolphin show.”
“She’s a wild photographer.”
“Phil is working at the local saloon.”
As you got it right, the “ph” in all these sentences is pronounced with a “f” sound like fone, dolfin, fotographer, fil.
The real reason for pronouncing “ph” with a “f” sound is not exactly known but some say it is because of the English language’s Greek origins.
Some people make the mistake of pronouncing “ph” with a “p” sound for words that aren’t used commonly like philately, morph, caliph, amphibian, sphere, emphasis, symphony. (These should be pronounced as filately, morf, calif, amfibian, sfere, emfasis, symfony).
Pronouncing the “ph” with a “p” sound is not only incorrect but also makes the speaker sound uneducated. Apart from some exceptions (we’ll discuss that in a second) the “ph” should be pronounced only with a “f” sound.
Here are some more examples: elephant, physics, alphabet, nephew, orphan, cellophane, philosophy, biography, pharmacy.
The exception to this rule are compound words like loophole, uphill, haphazard, uphold, shepherd, upholstery, upheaval, cupholder. The “ph” in all these words are pronounced with a “p” sound, and not a “f” sound. If you aren’t sure how to pronounce a particular word that contains “ph”, please use an online dictionary to learn the correct pronunciation.
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