The Letter Q(u)

You will never see, in the English language, the letter q without a u following it. The exception here is in proper names, like Q-tip, but that is the only exception. The rest of the time, qu is always together.

For this reason, in Orton Gillingham, Qu is a consonant together and the sound it makes is “kw.”

After I learned this, I started thinking of words and sure enough, qu is always together.

Queen, quarter, quilt, quill, quiet, quite, quick, quit, question, quack, quality, quip, quintuplet, quagmire, squint, squat, squirt, squirrel … I could keep going but I’m sure you get the point.


Qu is always together, and together it is considered a consonant.

Consonants b, c, d, f, g, h, j, k, l, m, n, p, q(u), r, s, t, v, w, x, y, z
Vowels a, e, i, o, u, y

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(3) Comments

  1. And yet queue for some reason supposedly gets pronounced cue as in pool cue or cue card. Considering the rules for q, and it always following with the letter u, wouldn’t it still fall under the kw sound logically?

    1. Hi Charles, Qu actually does say “kw.” You can confidently tell anyone who tells you it says something else that it does not say, “Qu(Long u)” — it says “kw.” If I could put pictures here I would show you my flash card. You gave me an idea for an upcoming post to make sure this is clear. So, thank you for your comment!

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