Spelling the sound /or/: or, ore, au, aw

We have looked at the most common ways of spelling the /or/ sound:
or ore au aw
and, after w, ar.

The other spellings for /or/ are listed here, under 'Rule-breakers'.
Words marked * are homophones - please see the next page.

Rule Breakers - these words break spelling rules 1. Words with the /or / sound:

These words use augh to spell the /or/ sound:
caught* The thief was caught in the act.
taught* I was taught to play the piano.
fraught Fraught means upset and worried.
naught Naught (US spelling) means nothing.
(British spelling: nought)
naughty Put that naughty child to bed early.
daughter Our daughter has fair hair.
slaughter The sick cows had to be slaughtered.
For more on these augh words, see Unit 17

These words use ough to spell the /or/ sound:
ought You really ought to see that film.
bought I bought my boyfriend a ring.
brought The lost child was brought back home.
fought* A battle was fought on this site.
nought Nought means nothing. (US spelling: naught)
thought I thought you'd be ready by now.
For more on these ough words, see Unit 17

These words use our to spell the /or/ sound:
four He has read four books in a week.
pour Please will you pour me a drink?
your Can I help you with your bags?
court* The tennis court was too wet for play.
course* 1. This course should help your spelling.
2. We had soup for our first course.
mourn Mourn means to grieve over a death.
source* The source of this river is in those hills.
Note: 4 = four, 14 = fourteen, BUT 40 = forty

These words use oor to spell the /or/ sound:
door Shut the door behind you.
floor* Don't tread on my clean floor.

Remember these words from Unit 5?
In them the /orl/ sound is spelled all :

all ball call fall hall small stall tall wall

The /or/ sound is spelled al in these words also:
chalk These cliffs are made of chalk.
stalk* Flowers grow on stalks.
talk Don't talk with your mouth full.
walk Let's walk instead of driving.

These words use oar to spell the /or/sound:
oar I lost an oar over the side of my boat.
boar* A boar is a male pig or a wild pig.
board* The seat was just a wooden board.
coarse* Coarse means rough, or not fine.
hoard He hid his hoard of cash under the bed.
hoarse* Shouting too much can make you hoarse.
roar I heard the roar of a wild animal.
soar* The glider soared high in the sky.
Learning tip to help your spelling To remember the spelling of cupboard, think of it as a board to keep cups on, and say it out loud as cup - board.

Remember the war rules on page 7?
These words break those rules:
wore* She wore a new dress for the party.
worn* This old printer is worn out.
water Drink lots of water for good health.
Learning tip to help your spelling To remember the spelling of water, keep saying:

Adam ate apples and drank water

Rule Breakers - these words break spelling rules 2. These words have the letters au but the sounds
are different:

aunt Dad's sister is my aunt.
draught There's a draught from that window.
(US spelling: draft)
laugh Don't laugh at my misfortune.
sausage These sausages are very tasty.
because I like you because you understand me.
Learning tip to help your spelling The word because is the cause of many spelling mistakes. To remember the spelling of because, say it with the /or/ sound
as in cause.

Some people remember 'because' by making up a sentence.
A well-known one is:
Big elephants can't always use small exits. Learning to spell the or sound in English words

Try making up your own sentence for 'because'.

next part of the spelling course Go to the next section: Homophones for the /or/ sound.

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Unit 14: Spelling the sound /or/

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