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12.17: Something About <gu> and <gh>

Difficulty Level: At Grade Created by: CK-12
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Something About <gu> and <gh>

1. Usually when a <g> is followed by the letters <e>, <i>, or <y>, it is pronounced _________ and is called ____________.

2. Sometimes when a [g] sound has an <e>, <i>, or <y> right after it, the [g] sound will be spelled <g> with an insulating <u> standing between the <g> and the <e>, <i>, or <y> to keep the <g> from looking as if it should be pronounced [j]. In a very few words the sound [g] is spelled <gh>, as in ghost. Underline the letters that spell [g] in the following words:


3. Now sort the words into these groups:

4. Also there is one common element that means “speech” and that contains the <g> spelling of [g] with an insulating <u>. The element is logue. Remember that logue means “words or speech,” and be ready to discuss these questions:

If dia- means “two,” what is a dialogue?

If mono- means “one,” what is a monologue?

If pro- means “before,” what is a prologue?

What is a travelogue?

If cata- means “complete,” why is a catalogue called a catalogue?

Words that end <logue> can usually also be spelled <log>. Dialog, monolog, prolog, travelog, catalog, epilog are all correct spellings, too.

5. You've seen that an insulating <u> is sometimes used after <g> to spell [g] before <e>, <i>, or <y>. There are a few words where [g] is actually spelled <gu> in front of <a>:


Originally these words were spelled with no <u> in English. The <u> was added in the 16th century, probably to reflect an older French spelling with <gu>, pronounced [gw].

Word Histories. Oddly, the Greek prefix epi- meant both “before” and “after.” So an epilogue is writing that comes at the end of a book (just the opposite of a prologue), but an epigraph is writing that comes at the beginning of a book.

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Date Created:
Feb 23, 2012
Last Modified:
Oct 09, 2015
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