Top confusing words: Thought, though, tough, through, taught, throughout, thorough, although.
The “ough” sound in the English language can be very confusing when seen in the many different words it is used in. In different words it has different ways of being pronounced, which makes it even more confusing! Let’s look at some of these words and their meanings.
TOUGH: Tough means “hard,” “able to endure difficulty or pain,” “difficult,” “strict” or “strong.”
- Susan was very tough for surviving a pandemic with no real income and four children.
- That steak is very tough, you grilled it for too long!
- Our final exam at university was extremely tough.
THOUGH: Though means “despite the fact that,” “however,” “nevertheless” or “but.”
- He is trying to get his residency, though the requirements are quite difficult.
- Though the television was really loud, I could still hear the builders working outside.
- Juliet is currently studying Greek, though she will probably never use it.
THOUGHT: Thought is the past tense form of the verb “think”. Thought is also a noun, meaning “an idea or concept.”
- Bella hadn’t thought of Martin since they broke up two years ago.
- I had a thought about how we can improve the business over the next few months.
- Cara thought that she made a reservation at the restaurant.
THROUGH: Through means that “something or someone moves in one side of something and out on the other side.” Through is also “an ongoing process or period over time” or “by means of.”
- Dave will be studying Spanish in Madrid through the summer.
- A stronger strain of the virus spreads through breathing it in, but not physical contact.
- They ran through the crowd to get to the free samples before anyone else.
THROUGHOUT: Throughout means “in every part of a place or object.” Throughout also means “from the start to the end of an event or process.”
- The chairman was pleased with the board members’ contributions throughout the meeting.
- My new puppy left a path of destruction throughout the apartment.
- Throughout the world more and more people are starting to study a second or third language.
THOROUGH: Thorough means “carefully,” “completely” or “absolute.”
- The detectives did a very thorough investigation of the crime scene.
- Everybody thoroughly enjoyed the dinner party last night.
- Their government is very thorough with background checks for immigrants.
ALTHOUGH: Although means “in spite of the fact of,” “even though”, “however” or “but.”
- Harry said he was at the opening ceremony, although nobody him there.
- Although it’s late, I’m still going to cook dinner now.
- Francis went to the bank, although I told her it won’t be open on Sundays.
TAUGHT: Taught is the past tense form of the verb “teach.” (Even though it is not spelled with “ough,” the pronunciation is similar to the other words mentioned above.)
- Living in different countries taught Billy that people have vastly different viewpoints on the world.
- The same professor taught us for the entire time we were studying at the college.
- Lessons taught in life are usually realized too late.
“Yes, English can be weird. It can be understood through tough thorough thought, though.” – David Burge
(Pictures on next pages)