My collection of proof that “clothes” rhymes with “nose”

I’m not sure why it is, and I am worried that Dutch secondary school English teachers are to blame, but lots of Dutch people completely mispronounce the word “clothes”.

They say something like “clothe-ees”. Though one of the main principles of this blog is that having a Dutch accent is okay, in this case this pronunciation doesn’t work because it will lead to misunderstandings.

Also, the solution is so easy: “clothes” rhymes with “nose”. Don’t believe me? Listen to Avril Lavigne

“All of her friends, they stuck up their nose, they had a problem with his baggy clothes.”

Or look at this Simpsons quote:

Or look at this meme:

But I asked a native speaker and they said it was “cloath-zzzz”

If you ask a native speaker about their language, they are going to want to be helpful and tell you what they feel is the “correct” pronunciation. So they’ll think about the spelling and pronounce it slowly for you, and then they will indeed end up pronouncing the “th” in the middle (as a hard th, by the way, as in “them”).

But when native speakers are just talking and not thinking about it, they’ll say “I bought some new close.” I promise. Unfortunately, most people don’t realise how they actually talk so if you ask them they might insist that they always pronounce the “th”. People are funny that way.