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American English Pronunciation: The X Sound

In this American English pronunciation lesson, you’ll learn about one particularly tricky English sound- The X Sound. By the end of this lesson- you’ll know the most common pronunciations of X and we will practice X together in common words and sentences.

Key Takeaways:

1) Even though X is a single letter, the 2 most common pronunciations of X are actually consonant blends, or a combination of 2 consonant sounds together: /k/ + /s/ and /g/ + /z/.

2) When X comes before the stressed/emphasized vowel sound in a word, it is pronounced as /g/ + /z/.

Practice words and sentences used in the lesson:

Examples where X sounds like /k/ + /s/


Let’s meet at six.

She’s already six years old.

We tried six times.


It’s tax season.

Don’t forget about sales tax.

He’s a tax consultant.


It’s not that complex.

He’s a complex person.

You’re making this way too complex.


Let me explain.

Can you explain this to me?

It’s hard to explain.


Can we extend the deadline?

They’re planning to extend the walkway.

I’m taking an extended vacation.


I need some extra time.

This is an extra bonus.

Do you have any extra?


She exercises regularly.

I need to get some exercise.

You should exercise caution here.


That’s the maximum amount allowed.

We’ve reached maximum capacity.

The maximum score is 100.


I can be flexible.

The schedule is flexible.

Her work hours are flexible.


Examples where X sounds like /g/+/z/


That’s exactly right.

This is exactly what we needed.

That’s not exactly what I meant.


Can you give me another example?

You need to set an example.

That’s an excellent example.


He’s an executive assistant.

This was an executive decision.

The executive committee members all agree.


It’s time for your yearly examination.

Let’s examine the data.

You should have your eyes examined. 


I have a lot of anxiety about it.

His anxiety increased as the day drew closer.

Exercise is great for reducing anxiety.

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