I hadn’t even thought of it, but one of my customers emailed me to ask if there was a rule about this.  He was practising his English accent  and wanted to know when ‘ex’ says ‘eks’ and when it says ‘gz’.  Mind you in some parts of America it is pronounced as ‘iks’ not ‘eks’.

There is a rule about how to pronounce the ‘ex’ at the beginning of words for your English accent.  Though, as usual with English pronunciation, there are some words that can be said either way.  For the most part though, if you follow the rule you will be fine.

English Accent Rule. How to pronounce ‘ex’ at the beginning of words.

  • When the ‘ex’ is followed by a consonant, the ‘ex’ says ‘ks.’
  • When the ‘ex’ is followed by a vowel, the ‘ex’ says ‘gz’.

I have included an audio lesson below, so you can hear how to pronounce the ‘ex’ words, and also so you can practise noticing and copying the stressed and de-stressed syllables in the longer words.


Word List

Words when ‘ex’ says ‘ks’ :  extent,  expect,  exterminate,  external,  extra,  execute ( this can be said with ‘gz’ as well ),  excellent,  exhale,  excavate,  exclude,  expedition.

Words when ‘ex’ says ‘gz’: exhaust, exact, examine, exit, exist, example, exotic, exasperate, exhibit.


If you have any questions please comment below. I am always happy to hear your questions and comments or ideas for lessons you want.

Best wishes,


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