Pronunciation > Letter combinations > "QUI" in English words

"QUI" in English words

By Alena Lien, 8 Sept 2018

The letter "q" is usually pronounced as /k/. As it is often followed by "u," "qu" is often pronounced as a combination of /k/ and /w/.

"Qui" is a common letter group in English words and there are 4 distinct ways of pronouncing it. This can occur at the beginning or in the middle of words.

1.   /kwɪ/

This is the most common. 

At the beginning:

  • Quick

  • Quit

  • Quiz

  • Quiver

  • Quidditch

In the middle:

  • Squish

  • Equipment

  • Tranquility

2.   /kwaɪ/

At the beginning:

  • Quite

  • Quiet

In the middle:

  • Equine

  • Inquiry

  • Unrequited

The word, "quiet," is made up of 2 syllables (qui-et). When vowel sounds are linked between syllables, often a y-sound (/j/) is produced. 

3.   /kwɜ/

This is less common in English words and letter groups that end with "r" are usually pronounced this way.

At the beginning:

  • Quirk

  • Quirt

In the middle:

  • Squirm

  • Squirt

4.   /ki/

This is even less common in English words.

At the beginning:

  • Quinoa

  • Quiche

In the middle:

  • Mannequin

  • Tequila

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