Is there a rule to know when to pronounce letter c as a "soft c" (s) or "hard c" (k)?



Is there a rule that would help me to learn when to pronounce the letter c as an "s" sound or a "k" sound?

For example: - cat (kat)
- center (sinter)

Are there any rules, or is it all memorization?


Posted 2014-03-01T14:46:35.497

Reputation: 33

7Do you mean pronounce rather than spell? – Jim – 2014-03-01T14:49:47.513

I have edited the post to reflect that it's for pronunciation. – CoolHandLouis – 2014-03-01T16:33:52.277



Assuming you mean "pronounce" rather than spell, since it all depends on sounds, here are some simple rules to follow.

"c" is pronounced like "k" when it is not immediately followed by the letters "e", "i" or "y"


Car, cat, cabin, curtail, curfew, curb, court, cool, mucus

"c" is pronounced like "s" when it comes directly before "e" or "i" or "y".


city, cinch, certain, cyan, embrace, receive, dance

There are odd difficult words, like "soccer", where "double c" counts as a "k" sounds, and words like "muscle" where the "s" takes precedence, rendering the "c" unsounded.


Posted 2014-03-01T14:46:35.497

Reputation: 7 354

Actually, the edit belongs to @user4812 – that user suggested adding the "y"; I merely added an extra word in the examples.

– J.R. – 2014-03-01T18:44:53.447

Well the answer seems to make sense, but using "cyan" spoiled it, in "cyan" 'c' does take the pronunciation of 'k', I guess there is an exception to every rule. – NANDAGOPAL – 2014-03-05T09:00:34.390

7No it doesn't. "Cyan" is pronounced with an "s" sound. – JMB – 2014-03-05T10:15:12.910