Tongue or Tounge? an Effective Spelling Guide

Most often, conscientious writers find themselves unsure of how to…

Most often, conscientious writers find themselves unsure of how to spell words like “tongue.” How do you spell tongue? Is it as tongue or tounge? This is where this short article comes in. In this guide, you will find out the origin of the word and the most consistent spelling for it.

Tongue: Definition

The ‘tongue’ is a flexible muscular organ in the oral cavity that moves food around for tasting. The movement of this organ modifies airflow from the lungs to produce different speech sounds.

Tongue‘ describes a human spoken or written language peculiar to a community, e.g., native tongue. The term also indicates a manner of speaking, e.g., Mary spoke with a thick tongue.

Origin and Variant

The word ‘tongue‘ originates from the Old English word tunge, from Proto-Germanic ‘tungo’. The ue ending of the word is a fourteenth-century addition in an attempt to show “proper pronunciation” of the word. However, the term ‘tongue‘ is neither phonetic nor etymological.

Until the late sixteenth century, many people spelled the word tongue as tunge and tonge. Tounge might seem like the correct spelling of the actual word, following its etymology and phonetic pronunciation. However, today, tunge, tonge, and tounge are incorrect and considered misspellings of the exact term. They are inappropriate and unacceptable in writing.

How Do You Spell Tongue?

The accurate spelling of the word is T-O-N-G-U-E. Note that the term ends with –ue and not just -e as in tounge. It is a six-lettered, monosyllabic word with three vowels and three consonants. The phonemic pronunciation of the word is |tʌŋ|.

Tongue: Part of Speech

The word ‘tongue’ acts as a noun and verb in different contexts. As a noun, it means a flexible mass of muscular tissue located in the oral cavity and covered with a mucous membrane. The word also describes a spoken language used by a particular community, e.g., a programming language.


  • The tongue has a significant length of 17inch.
  • David loves to speak in his native tongue.
  • The gardener spoke in a foreign tongue; I didn’t understand what he said.
  • Jerry’s sharp tongue is going to land him into big trouble someday.
  • Anton babbled so much that he bit his tongue.
  • The doctor asked Mary to stick out her tongue while he carried out an examination.
  • It was disgusting to see the laundryman stick his tongue and lick his lips.
  • The taste of ice cream is stuck on my tongue.
  • I was shocked when I saw that Eddy’s tongue was brownish-gray!
  • George was able to get his tongue into the narrow gap.
  • My siblings are struggling to learn a foreign tongue.

As a verb, it means the art of articulating by tonguing, as when playing wind instruments or licking and exploring with the tongue. The verb form of the word takes the following states: present tense – tongues; present participle – tonguing; and past tense – tongued.


  • Dave wouldn’t stop tonguing the meat.
  • George tongued the trumpet so skillfully that he sounded like a professional.
pink and white heart shaped cake with tongue and teeth
Photo by Girl with red hat on Unsplash

To Wrap Up

How do you spell tongue? In English, the only correct way to spell the word is T-O-N-G-U-E. Not as tounge, tonge or tunge. They might sound right, but they are obsolete and inappropriate in writing. A simple tip to note when spelling the word is that it ends with ue and not just e.

Take note of the sentence examples provided in this article to know how the word is spelled and used correctly!

Frequently asked questions

How do you spell tongue in your mouth?

Add to our list. You press your tongue against your teeth to speak, as well as your taste buds.

Why is tongue spelled that way?

Thus, the spelling tongue is neither etymological nor phonetic, and is only in a very small extent historical. The spelling originates from French, so it indicates that the g was once pronounced — in other words, it wasn’t always just an English word ().

What is a tounge?

Your tongue is a muscular organ in your mouth that allows you to chew, speak, and breathe.

What is the most effective way to teach spelling?

  • Let’s get creative with them.
  • Writing words by hand is the best way to do it.
  • Encourage reading
  • Take the word out loud.
  • Keep your words on display.
  • To practice, play games.
  • Teach typing
  • Explain mnemonics

Does tongue have a silent letter?

Silent Lwould, talk, half, folk, almonds, salmon
Silent Ubuild, biscuit, guest, tongue, catalogue, plague
Silent CConnecticut
Silent Rsurprise
Silent Tlisten

How do the British spell tongue?

English uses the spelling -gue along with a silent -ue for certain words that aren’t part of the -ogue set, such as tongue (cf. Tong), plague, vague, and league. Also, when the -ue is not silent, as in the words argue, ague, and segue, all varieties of English use -gue.

Is it GREY or gray?

The alphabet is not a black and white thing when it comes to spelling. Gray and grey are both common spellings for black and white. Grey is more common in American English, whereas gray is more prevalent in British English.

How can I be good at spelling?

  • Read a lot. Reading.
  • Do not rely on spell check. Use spell check.
  • Quiz yourself frequently. Take a test.
  • Get 15 minutes a day to practice. Practice.
  • Create mnemonic devices
  • Find a word’s etymology.
  • Play word games
  • Keep a journal

How do you use the word tongue in a sentence?

  • I was at a loss for how to respond after being tongue-tied.
  • As she sat nervously on her tongue, her mouth wet tired.
  • The demand became less of a request, and his tongue flickered to taste her.
  • Seeing the light returned to her eyes, she bit her tongue to resist gripping it.
  • She bit her tongue.

What is the correct way to spell a word?

  • You can start by sounding out the words.
  • Remember the old saying: “I am before E except after C.”.
  • The spelling of words is not changed when you add a prefix.
  • A smaller word within a larger, more complex word is more difficult to locate.
  • In cases where two vowels are next to each other, the second vowel is silent.

How do you say tongue?

How do you say tongue in American?

Who invented the word tongue?

Etymology. Word tongue is derived from the Old English tunge (proto-Germanic word *tung*n). Other Germanic languages use it, such as tonge in West Frisian, tong in Dutch and Afrikaans, tunge in German, tede in Danish and Norwegian, and tunga in Icelandic, Faro.

Who do you spell tongue?

The correct spelling of the word is T-O-N-G-U-E. We should take note that the term ends with -ue, not just -e as in tounge. It contains three vowels and three consonants and a six-lettered monosyllabic word.

How do I improve my spelling?

  • Memorize Sight Words. The words in sight are common words that can’t always be sounded out.
  • Read More Books
  • Learn how to use common prefixes and suffixes.
  • Keep an eye on the word trick.
  • Use Mnemonics
  • Spelling exceptions should be considered.
  • Test Yourself
  • Become better in spelling every day.
Tongue or Tounge? an Effective Spelling Guide

Pam is an expert grammarian with years of experience teaching English, writing and ESL Grammar courses at the university level. She is enamored with all things language and fascinated with how we use words to shape our world.

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