Today we’re going to work on your word power. Ready to get into shape?
I heard a couple of foreign fitness instructors talk about muscles with [sk]. Some of my students say muscle with [sk]. They also want to say descend with [sk]. But both these words are pronounced with [s].
It’s true that most sc words are pronounced [sk]. Prescribe is an example.
But there are also a lot that are said with [s].
Muscle is written with sc, but you pronounce this as mussel.
Did you know that? Good for you.
How can you decide whether to say [sk] or [s]?
The words with sc that are said with [sk] often have an r in the spelling. So like: scr.
The words with sc that sound like [s] often have an e in the spelling. Like this: sce. Or an i, like in science.
Use this video to get a feel for the sc words that are said with [s] and remember to check your dictionary before you use a new word with sc in it.
This video takes ten words from the list below. These are really very common words that everybody should know. Because I don’t believe you should learn dumb lists of words, each word has an example sentence.
The rest of the words (underneath) are for more advanced speakers of English, but they’re common too.
Here is a list of some common words with sc that are pronounced [s]:
Abscess = an infected area of skin, often with yellow pus
Adolescence = puberty, the years when a young person is a teenager
Adolescent = teenager
Scientific = connected to science
Ascend and descend = go up and go down
Ascent and descent = These are the noun forms of ascend and descend. Ascent means the going up, and descent means the coming down.
Ascertain = verify, make sure
Ascetic = a person or a way of life of living without luxury, often for spiritual purposes
Asceticism = a life without luxury
Convalesce = recover (after an illness)
Convalescence = recovery after an illness
Convalescence = the person who recovers
Discern = notice
Disciple = student
Discipline = the ability to control oneself
Effervescent = enthusiastic
Evanescent = disappearing
Eviscerate = to remove the vital parts of something
Fascinating = very interesting
Fluorescent = shining with fluor light
Susceptible = easily influenced
Insusceptible = not easily influenced
Lascivious = desiring sex
Miscellaneous = varied (mixed with different things)
Obscene = morally disgusting
Obscenity = what is offensive to common decency
Oscillate = to move back and forth
Putrescent = rotting
Transcend = to pass the limits, often to be better
Scene = part of a play or TV series.
Now here is the rub (problem):
Sc can also be pronounced [sh]:
Fascist = someone who believes in authoritarian nationalism
Conscious = aware (knowing about something)
Consciousness = awareness
Consciously = while being aware
Conscience = your inner moral sense about right and wrong
Crescendo = increase in loudness (of music)
Luscious = pleasant, attractive, delicious
Prosciutto = a kind of ham (cold meat)
Eschew = to avoid doing
Video of these: maybe some other time.
Still have questions about the subject of this post? Let other learners know in a comment.