Appendix:List of English words where G is pronounced exceptionally

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The following English words contain the letter "g" pronounced in a way which is an exception to the rules: the soft "g" occurs when the "g" comes before the letters "e", "i" or "y", and the hard "g" occurs elsewhere.

Hard “g” where soft “g” expected

"ng" before "e", "i" or "y"

When a suffix starting with "e", "i" or "y" is added to a word ending in "ng", either the "ng" retains its velar nasal pronunciation /ŋ/ (as in clingy, hanger) or the "g" hardens (as in longest). A few words ending in -nger are pronounced with a hard "g", although the "er" ending is not a suffix:

"gg" before "e", "i" or "y"

When a suffix beginning with "e", "i" or "y" is added to a word ending in "g" but not "ng", the hard "g" pronunciation of the original word is retained, and the "g" is doubled to "gg" in spelling: blogger, druggie, hugging, piggish, saggy, wagged. In addition, several words that are not the result of suffixing, but share the orthography of suffixed forms (or that are etymologically suffixed, but not always perceived as such by modern speakers), pronounce "gg" as hard "g" before "e", "i" or "y":

These suffix forms and their brethren constitute exceptions to the soft "g" rule, but they vastly outnumber the soft pronunciations of "gg", which are listed below.

Soft "g" where hard "g" expected

There are very few true exceptions in which "g" is soft but not followed by "e", "i", or "y":

Some words have lost a trailing "e" due to suffixing:

The soft "g" in veg lost its trailing "e" in the shortening from vegetable

  • veg, ~es, ~ged, ~ging

Algae is an oft-cited exception, but can be understood as regular, with "ae" acting as "e"

Soft "gg"

In these words the soft "g" is followed by "e", "i", or "y", so they are not, strictly speaking, exceptions, but they are so vastly outnumbered by words in which "gg" is pronounced as hard "g" that they merit a separate listing.

  • exaggerate, ~ed, ~es, ~ing, ~ings, ~ion, , ~ions
  • suggest, ~ed, ~ible, ~ing, ~ings, ~ion, ~ions, ~ive, ~iveness, ~s
  • veggies, ~y
  • arpeggio and similar words from Italian

Other pronunciations of "g"

G as /x/

See also