"Close" and "Clothes" sound the same in my ears. Is your pronunciation different? Did you know it through the context? I'm curious about it.


3 Answers 3


In actual speaking, most English speakers blur the th and it sounds just like: close.

However, in "my clothes", there are not two syllables as there would be with:

He closes.

= He closes = two syllables

My clothes = one syllable with an s on the end and no th.

  • 1
    Interestingly enough, in their pronunciation guides, many dictionaries show the th sound in parentheses for this word, indicating how that part of the sound is indeed often omitted phonetically. (Lexico shows it as /kləʊ(ð)z/, for example, while the dictionary on my Mac shows |klō(T͟H)z|. M-W shows two pronunciations: klōz also ˈklōt͟hz.)
    – J.R.
    Jul 8, 2019 at 0:53

As a British English native speaker, there are usually two distinct ways to pronounce close.

I am close to the train station

close as an adjective or noun is pronounced with a ssss sound, clossssse.

Close the door please.

close as a verb is pronounced with a zzzz sound, clozzzze.

I find that foreign speakers often pronounce clothes as two syllables, often but not always based on the word cloth, which is pronounced differently to close in that the O sound is different. Cloth has an O sound like the first letter of 'on' but clothes has an O sound like the word 'oh'.

Spoken normally, clothes contains the th sound. But when spoken quickly, I find it is pronounced identically to the second close (cloze).

Obviously, this can likely vary from country to country and between regional accents.


th in clothes is pronounced as th in thumb. Its sound is different from s in close.

  • 1
    I often don't pronounce the th at all, having it be silent. However, the syllable stress between the two is different, as is the pronunciation of the s. At least with one sense of close. With the other sense of close, they can sound very similar—in which case, context does indeed distinguish between them. Jul 7, 2019 at 16:12
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    It can be pronounced this way. It often is not. You would hear no difference between when I say Pick up your clothes and Close the door, unless I make a conscious choice to enunciate "clothes".
    – Andrew
    Jul 7, 2019 at 17:59
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    Not "th" like "thumb" or "thing". The voiced "th" sound, like "the", "gather", "thou", or "that". ...When it is followed by the "z" sound of the voiced "s" at the end of "clothes", the "th" is not easy to articulate if you are speaking fast, so it often almost disappears, and the word you hear ends up almost the same as "close", but "clothes" lasts a teensy bit (fraction of a second) longer in time.
    – Lorel C.
    Jul 7, 2019 at 19:18
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    @Andrew No, in can never be pronounced with the first consonant in thistle, only with the first one in this. Because if it's there at all, it must be voiced, not unvoiced.
    – tchrist
    Jul 7, 2019 at 23:50
  • Thanks guys. I stand corrected.
    – aarbee
    Jul 8, 2019 at 15:42

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