Finding America

Me and Tarah

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It's one of the oldest British English debates in the book—how does one pronounce "scone"? In this mini-debate with his wife, Laurence tries to provide some answers.

This article was written by Laurence Brown. Laurence is a British expat living in Indianapolis, Indiana, and has written for BBC America and Anglotopia. He is Editor-in-chief of Lost in the Pond and loves nothing more than to share these articles with anglophiles, expats, and other interested parties on social media. Follow Lost in the Pond on Facebook, Twitter and Google+.


  1. I think it depends on where your from has to how you pronounce scone (on). How can you have never heard of Gooseberry Jam. My grandmother made it in England.

  2. I meant to say scone as in own

  3. I LIKE your wife! Her style and pronunciation remind me of myself! As a lifelong Midwesterner, I too pronounce the word 'scone' with a 'long O' sound, like the letter name. The pronunciation rule is that the vowel sound in a word is determined by whether the consonant immediately after that vowel is followed by a silent 'e' or not.
    For instance, "bon", "con" both have a "short o" sound, whereas "bone" and "cone" have the "long O" sound because of the silent 'e' following that 'n'. Your example of "gone" (or "done", for that matter) don't work with that rule because "go" and "do" are both irregular verbs. All the really old (as in most-used) words in English ARE irregular, since they tended to hold on to older forms no longer in use. Likewise, "one" (and all the numbers) are likewise weird as they, too, are such older English that they don't follow more modern rules. Perhaps you could ask some relatives or friends back across the pond if they know some English "English major" who could explain why Brits pronounce it like "scon"? By the way, I love your columns and videos: well done!

  4. It depends where you come from. I`m from the north east of England and it`s always been Scon. My kids are from South Yorkshire and it`s Scone. Whatever way you pronounce they are certainly nice, especially with a bit of jam and cream.

  5. My husband is from Southampton. It's scon to him. But if it is American-style, it is scone (long "o"). It makes communication easier in our house.


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