W - Wh
In the speech of most native English nationals, the sounds used to pronounce these different spellings are indistinguishable. The Scots and Welsh, and many from outside the United Kingdom, make a clear distinction in sound. (In the International Phonetic Alphabet, the different sounds, as realised by careful speakers of English, of 'w' and 'wh' are represented by different signs, respectively IPA: /w/ and IPA: /ʍ/.) This precise pronunciation helps them to avoid several spelling mistakes common in England. English schoolchildren often have problems with pairs of words like where - were, which - witch, and wet - whet.
- The sound that is nowadays written wh- was written more logically in Old English as hw-. This lasted until the thirteenth century, and later in some parts of the country. In Scotland, it was often represented by quh-.