First, I’d like to make clear the ultimate rule when dealing with words with x: if you are not sure about how to pronounce it, check a dictionary. There are no perfect guidelines to read this letter, as it depends on its etymology and transformations through time. I’ll try to help you with some on-point observations considering possible positions of this letter in a word. After reading this, check my X-words list for practising and more examples of common words with x.

There are 4 possible phonemes for this mysterious letter:

  • [ʃ ] like the sh in shampoo (xampu);
  • [z] like the s raise (elevar);
  • [ks] like the x in complex (complexo);
  • [s] like the s in say (falar).

5 useful tips when reading x-words:

  1. Between vowels: any of phonemes above, but if you have to guess: [ʃ ].
  2. When x meets c, we have an [s] sound, like excesso.
  3. MANY TIMES in words starting with ex[vowel]-, we have a [z] sound, like exemplo, executar, exato.
  4. After en-, we have [ʃ ] : enxame, enxaqueca, enxugar.
  5. In the prefix ex-: ex-presidente, exceção, exposição.

Don’t forget to check more examples on my X-words list on quizlet!

Below you can find a complete presentation about the alphabet in Portuguese.

Hope you learned a lot and come back for more!

See you.

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