There are five distinct ways of pronouncing OO in English words. Usually OO occurs in the middle of words but is sometimes found at the end of words.


1.   OO = /u:/ (long “oo”)

This is the most common and is pronounced as a long OO sound. This is the same as pronouncing the exclamation, “ooh.”

  • Cool
  • Soon
  • Zoom
  • Balloon
a. All words that end with OO are pronounced this way.
  • Yahoo
  • Kangaroo
  • Shampoo
2.   OO = /ʊ/ (short “oo”)

This is also pretty common. Think of this as a shorter version of “ooh.”

  • Foot
  • Wool
a. Letter groups that end with “k” or “d” are mostly pronounced this way.
Ending with “k”:
  • Book
  • Cookie
  • Mistook

Exceptions are spook (/spuːk/) and snooker (/ˈsnuː.kər/) 

Ending with “d”:
  • Good
  • Childhood
  • Understood

Exceptions are brood (/bruːd/), food (/fuːd/) and mood (/muːd/)

3.   OO = /ɔː/ (“open-o”)

There are several words where it is pronounced this way. This is the first part of “or” or “oar,” without the /r/.

  • Door
  • Floor
  • Poor
4.   OO = /ʌ/ (“a”)

There are only two words where it is pronounced this way. This is pronounced as an A instead of an O.

  • Blood
  • Flood
5.   Separated (2 o’s)

This usually occurs when 2 words (or a prefix to a word) are joined together. Here, the 2 O’s are split into separate syllables.

  • Cooperate
  • Zoology
  • Microorganism

Original posts: 2 October 2018