At the website where people pronounce words from their languages, the page for the word often gives 15 accounts. 13 people pronounced it with silent t (ofen), and only 2 with strong t (ofTen).

But all ESL teachers I know (U.S. native speakers) pronounce it with strong t (ofTen).

What is the right (standard) pronunciation?

  • 1
    Welcome to English Language & Usage. This is very good question. I am not a native speaker nor a teacher, but I think that the more correct one is: "ofTen" - with the strong "T", but it's easier to pronounce it like "ofen", so therefore you hear it more "ofen" ;)
    – Derfder
    Commented Jun 22, 2013 at 7:54
  • 1
    Pronunciation is a regional thing; there is no single right/correct way to pronounce often and nevermind the t there are multiple ways of pronouncing the o and the e as well. I can tell you that in the areas of the US that I have lived, I'd never pronounce the t even if I were on my best "speaking behavior"
    – Jim
    Commented Jun 22, 2013 at 8:07
  • 3
    Pronunciation of “often”In what dialects does “often” rhyme with “soften”? Please search the site before posting. It's in your own interest as it gets you the answer faster than typing up a whole question. Thank you.
    – RegDwigнt
    Commented Jun 22, 2013 at 10:48

1 Answer 1


OED has

Pronunciation:  Brit. /ˈɒf(ə)n/ , /ˈɒft(ə)n/ , U.S. /ˈɔf(ə)n/ , /ˈɑft(ə)n/

I was taught (yes, really) that the Standard pronunciation did not have the t in the middle, and adding that in was dialectal. That's supported by OED's listing of [no t] before the version including t. Pronouncing the t isn't incorrect, though.

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