I've recently been told that the word "clothes" is actually pronounced as "close", because an American friend heard me saying it with a voiced TH sound.

The thing is I usually can't hear the difference in sounds between TH and D, F or T, so I just rely on knowing where to place my tongue in order to pronounce TH sounds and do this every time a word is spelled with a TH.

Are there other common words like "clothes" that are spelled with a TH but not actually pronounced with a standard voiced/voiceless TH? Or is this just a very rare exception?

  • 5
    Clothes has both pronunciations. Anybody who says there is only a single pronunciation is mistaken. At different times, I've pronounced it both ways myself. Aug 11, 2020 at 19:34
  • I am the one who downvoted. Sorry. The reason is, the scope of this question is too broad.
    – user17814
    Aug 11, 2020 at 20:01

1 Answer 1


Every rule in English has exceptions, including this rule.

There are some words (like “thyme”, pronounced the same as “time”) where even the correct pronunciation of “th” is weird, but it’s much more common that “th” gets dropped to a “d” or “t” when someone is speaking quickly or has a thick accent.

If I say the word “clothes” by itself, I’ll say it correctly. But in a sentence, it will usually sound like “close” unless I’m making a point of speaking clearly, such as when I know I’m talking to a non-native speaker.

Can you hear the difference between those sounds when people speak slowly or for individual words? If so, the problem may not be on your end.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .