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When Does TU Copy CH?

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One of the strange things in the English language is when the TU copies the CH sound.  If on Tuesday [t sound], we go on a nature [ch sound] adventure [ch sound], we may have to study [t sound] extra on Wednesday.  There are four words with TU in them in this sentence, yet two of them are pronounced with a ’t’ sound, and two of them are pronounced with a ‘ch’ sound.  Are there rules to know when TU copies the CH sound?

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When Does TU Copy CH?
The Rules

When Does TU copy CH?

1. In words that end with TURE [or TUR and the Long E sound], the TU will copy the CH sound.  For example: adventure, capture, creature, culture, departure, future, lecture, literature, picture, structure, texture, venture.  “Century” has the Long E sound at the end, so the TU copies CH.  

2. Words made from root words with TURE letters will keep the CH sound.  For example: 

culture to cultural keeps the CH sound.

3. Most of the time, the TU will copy CH if it is not listed below in the exception rules.

When Does TU Copy CH?
The Exceptions

1. When TU is at the beginning of a word, it will have its normal T and U sounds.  For example: tub, tuition, tuna, turn.

2. When there is an ST blend followed by a U, the TU will not copy CH.   For example, studio, study, stuff .  However, if the ST is not a blend [i.e. in different syllables], the TU could copy CH.  For example: pasture [pas/ture] or posture [pos/ture].  Note the TURE in these last words.

3. When TU is at the beginning of a stressed syllable, it will not sound like CH, but have its normal T and U sounds.  For example: disturbing, opportunity, return.

4. In words with “stitu” the TU will have a t sound followed by the Long U[2] sound.  For example: constitutional, destitute, restitute, institute 

Like most phonetic rules, there are a few exceptions like: attitude, costume, mature, status.  However, these rules will help you correctly pronounce the TU sound the majority of the time.  If in doubt, check your dictionary!

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