The sound /p/ voiceless, bilabial, stop consonant


Note: A /p/ at the beginning of a word or syllable should be pronounced with a stronger burst of air than a /p/ at the end of a word or syllable (or in a consonant cluster). This is called aspiration.




  • “p” – pie, tap
  • ”pe” - grape, rope
  • “pp” – apple, ripped


The sound /p/ can be in these consonant clusters:
  • Beginning of a Syllable
/pl/ ("pl)" - please 
/pr/ ("pr") - pray
/sp/ ("sp") - spell
/spl/ ("spl") - split
/spr/ ("spr") - spring
  • End of a Syllable
/ps/ ("ps" / "pes" / "pes"/ "pps" / "ppes") - lips, hopes, apps, steppes
/pt/ ("pt" / “ped” / "pped") - slept, hoped, ripped
/mp/ ("mp") - lamp
/mps/ ("mps") - pumps
/mpt/ ('mpt" / “mped”) - prompt, pumped
/lp/ ("lp") - gulp
/lps/ ("lps") - yelps
/lpt/ (“lped”) - helped
/rp/ ("rp") - sharp
/rps/ ("rps") - harps
/rpt/ (“rped”) - warped
/sp/ ("sp") - rasp
/sps/ ("sps") - wasps
/spt/ (“sped”) - lisped
Grammar Tip:

The sound /p/ is in the common prefix "pre-". This prefix usually means "before" and can be part of a noun or verb. The prefix is usually unstressed, but it can be stressed.
  • predict
  • prepay
  • pretest
  • precaution
The sound /p/ is also in the prefix "pro." This prefix can mean "for," "advance/forth," "forward/in front of" or "in place of."
  • proclaim
  • produce
  • promote
  • proportion
Compare /p/ and /b/:

These are both bilabial stop consonants. However, /p/ is voiceless and /b/ is voiced. There is no aspiration after /b/ at the beginning of a word. At the end of a word, the vowel before /b/ will be longer than the vowel before /p/.
You can hear the difference between /p/ and /b/ in these words.
1. A. pie, B. buy
2. A. planned, B. bland
3. A. pride, B. bride
4. A. cup, B. cub
5. A. mops, B. mobs
6. A, staple, B. stable

Now compare /p/ and /f/:

These are both voiceless consonants that are pronounced using the lips. However, /p/ is a bilabial stop and /f/ is a labio-dental fricative. When you pronounce /p/, your teeth should not touch your lips and the air in your mouth should be stopped.

You can hear the difference between /p/ and /f/ in these words.
1. A. pat, B. fat
2. A. plush, B. flush
3. A. praise, B. phrase
4. A. lap, B. laugh
5. A. gulps, B. gulfs
6. A. coffee, B. copy
Listen and repeat these words:
1. past
2. pill
3. pray
4. please
5. spin
6. spring
7. wrap
8. lip
9. harp
10. grasp
11. lamp 
12. happy
13. apply
14. printer
15. complain
16. aspire
17. pedestrian
18. impossible
19. purpose
20. proportion

Now, practice /p/ in sentences. Say the words first, then the sentences.
1. please – sweep – mop
Please sweep and mop the floor.
2. spring – plant – grapevines
In spring we will plant some grapevines.
3. employment – apply – position
Contact the employment agency to apply for a position.
4. purpose – project – provide
The purpose of this project is to provide new community resources.
5. public – harp – performance
We attended a public harp performance last night.
6. explain – company – procedures
Can you explain the company’s hiring procedures?

To practice with different varieties of English, choose another native English speaker by clicking one of the links below:

Consonants /d/ and /g/

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