I know that this word is pronounced as /dra:ft/ but do we consider the u to be silent? I have heard of 2 rules for silent u

1-when u comes after g

2-when u comes before a vowel

but none of them apply to this word, can someone clarify it for me?

  • 3
    One more question produced by the myth that there are pronunciation rules embedded in English spelling, if one only knew enough to find them. Once more pointing out that All letters are silent. Real language makes noise; writing doesn't, and English spelling does not represent English pronunciation; spelling and pronunciation have to be learned separately, because you can't predict one from the other well enough. Commented Jul 17, 2022 at 13:57

1 Answer 1


The u is not really silent, it's part of the au digraph although in this particular word that digraph has a slightly odd pronunciation. The gh is not silent either, as it's that which produces the /‍f/ sound.

Draught is simply pronounced the way it is. The word cough is similar, in that ou is pronounced /‍ɒ/ as though it were just o and the gh is /‍f/.

The similar-looking words fraught, aught, caught, haughty are more "regular" in that au is pronounced /‍ɔ:/ and the gh really is silent: /‍frɔ:t/, /‍ɔ:t/, /‍kɔ:t/, /‍hɔ:tɪ/.

English is tough /‍tʌf/, especially where words originating in Old English and Middle English are concerned. They are now so irregular that they just have to be learned.

  • It’s tough, and thank you for the clear answer!
    – Hiba
    Commented Jul 17, 2022 at 9:46
  • In the United States, draught is pronounced the same as draft; it's considered a variant spelling like theater and theatre or labor and labour. Commented Jul 17, 2022 at 13:54
  • Not to mention drought having the vowel of cow yet wrought having the vowel of caught.
    – tchrist
    Commented Jul 17, 2022 at 14:09

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