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12.19: When You Hear [g], Sometimes There's an <x>

Difficulty Level: At Grade Created by: CK-12
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When You Hear [g], Sometimes There's an <x>!

1. Sometimes the letter <x> spells the combination [ks], and sometimes it spells the combination [gz]. Sometimes a word can be pronounced either with a [ks] or [gz]. For instance, some people pronounce exit With a [ks], [\begin{align*}\acute{\text{e}}\end{align*}ksit], and some people pronounce it with a [gz], [\begin{align*}\acute{\text{e}}\end{align*}gzit]. Either pronunciation is correct.

Almost always the <x> that spells [gz] is in the prefix ex-, and the stem that follows the prefix begins with a vowel. Analyze each of the following words, all of which contain the prefix ex-.

Word = Formula = Analysis
exercised = Prefix + stem =
inexactly = Prefix + prefix + base + suffix =
explosion = Prefix + stem =
extensive = Prefix + stem =
exhaustive = Prefix + base + suffix =
exhibit = Prefix + stem =
examined = Prefix + stem =
exposure = Prefix + base + suffix =
exclude = Prefix + stem =
extended = Prefix + base + suffix =
executive = Prefix + stem =
exorbitant = Prefix + stem =
exclusive = Prefix + stem =

2. Some other things about [g] and <g>:

One other common word in which <x> spells [gz] is auxiliary.

The only word that ends in <gg> is egg.

In the word mortgage, the [g] is spelled <tg>. The word mortgage is a compound that contains two bases: mort, which means “death” (as in words like mortal and mortuary), and gage, which means “promise or pledge.” When we try to pronounce [t] and [g] together, we find it difficult, and to simplify the pronunciation, the [t] sound is left out. So in mortgage [g] is spelled <tg>.

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