H in Spanish: Pronunciation & Spelling Tips + Vocabulary

The letter h in Spanish is used in many basic words and verbs. As a result, you should get familiar with its different sounds. In this pronunciation guide, we’ll explore how to say h in Spanish correctly and some basic tips so you know when to use this letter. 

I’ve included recordings so you can review the Spanish letter h sounds. 

How to Pronounce H in Spanish

For the most part, the letter h in Spanish is mute. In simple words, it doesn’t have any sound, regardless of whether it’s placed at the beginning or middle of the word. Therefore, when you see a word with h, you simply pronounce the Spanish vowel that follows it. 

Check these words and the recording: 

  • Hacer 
  • Helado
  • Hijo
  • Ahora
  • Hunos

Notice that, in the previous words, the h doesn’t produce a sound; we just pronounce the vowels preceding it. Although the h in Spanish is typically silent, it’s still used for spelling purposes and, in some cases, to distinguish one word from another. 

Simply put, the absence or presence of the letter ‘h’ can help you distinguish some Spanish homonym words. For instance: 

  • Hola: Hi
  • Ola: Wave
  • Hora: Hour
  • Ora: Pray 
  • Habría: I would have
  • Abría: I would open 

So, as you can see, not using the h in Spanish when you’re required to do it can lead to spelling mistakes and affect the meaning of your sentence. 

When is the h in Spanish not mute? 

The h in Spanish is not mute when preceded by the letter c. The Spanish ‘ch’, called la che, is very similar to the ‘ch’ sound in English. The only difference is that, in Spanish, this sound is sharper and stronger

Here are some words and recordings so you can check how to pronounce this sound: 

Spanish Words with HSounds like
Chancla (flip flop)Challenge
Ache (letter h)Chest
Chiste (joke)Chip
Pecho (chest)Chop
Chuleta (chop)Choose

Words that have an h followed by the diphthongs ua, ue, and ui often sound close to the Spanish soft g. For example: 

  • Huevo may sound like güevo 
  • Hueso may sound like güeso

Finally, there are many h words that Spanish has adopted from English. In those cases, you must keep the English pronunciation (hard h). Halloween, hockey, and hacker are some examples of these words. 

Take Note: Since la che (CH) is not considered a letter, it no longer appears in the Spanish alphabet. However, this digraph (a sound produced by two letters) is essential to our pronunciation. 

graphic explaining how to pronounce h in spanish

Spanish Words with H

Now that you’ve learned how to pronounce this letter correctly, here are some common Spanish words with h you can use to practice: 

  • Ahí: There
  • Ahora: Now
  • Alcohol: Alcohol
  • Cacahuate: Peanut
  • Champiñón: Mushroom 
  • Chico: Small / Boy / Kid
  • Haber: To have
  • Hacer: To do / To make
  • Hambre: Hunger
  • Hasta: Until
  • Hay: There is / There are
  • Helado: Ice cream
  • Herir: To hurt
  • Hermano: Brother
  • Hielo: Ice
  • Hiena: Hyena
  • Hijo: Son
  • Hinchado: Swollen 
  • Historia: History
  • Hipócrita: Hypocrite 
  • Hola: Hi
  • Hombre: Man
  • Honesto: Honest
  • Hora: Hour / Time
  • Hornear: To bake
  • Hospital: Hospital
  • Hoy: Today
  • Hueso: Bone
  • Humedad: Humidity 
  • Humilde: Humble
  • Humillar: To humiliate 
  • Mucho: Much / A lot
  • Noche: Night

Here are some spelling tips that can help you know when to use h in Spanish: 

  • All the forms of verbs starting with ‘h’ (such as hacer and haber) are spelled with h. 
  • Use ‘h’ with words that start with the diphthongs ‘ia’, ‘ie’, ‘ue’, and ‘ui’ (hueso, hielo). 
  • Words that start with ‘histo’, ‘hosp’, ‘horm’, ‘holg’, ‘herm’, ‘hern’ must always be written with ‘h’ (hermoso, holgazán). 

Key Points

The letter h is one of the twenty-seven letters of the Spanish alphabet. As a result, you need to know how to pronounce when combined with different letters. Here are some key points you should know: 

  • Typically, the h in Spanish is mute
  • For the most part, you must only pronounce the vowels that follow this letter. 
  • The letter h in Spanish is used for spelling purposes. 
  • With some words, the absence or presence of the  ‘h’ helps you distinguish between two different words (ola vs hola).
  • The h is not mute when preceded by the letter C. 
  • In Spanish, ‘ch’ sounds sharper and stronger than the English ‘ch’. 
  • English words that have been incorporated into Spanish keep the English pronunciation (Hawai, hockey). 

Spanish Pronunciation Additional Resources

If you’re looking to improve your Spanish pronunciation, you should first start by checking the alphabet and the different sounds of Spanish letters. Since most of the time the letter ‘h’ only requires you to pronounce vowels, you should learn how to pronounce vowels to sound more natural. 

Keep in mind that, even though English has a hard h sound, as you learned in this guide, this pronunciation is not applied to Spanish words with h. However, you will find that sound in the Spanish letter j.

Download the H in Spanish & Pronunciation PDF

Study and practice how to say h in Spanish on the go by downloading a free copy of the PDF for this guide. It has all the key points, vocab, and comparison charts for learning how to pronounce the letter h in Spanish. It also links back to this guide so you can listen to the audio recordings.

Daniela Sanchez

¡Hola! Soy Daniela Sanchez, I've been studying Spanish professionally as well as teaching it in Mexico and online for over 10 years. I’ve taught Spanish to a wide array of foreigners from many backgrounds. Over the years, I've made it my mission to work hard on refining many challenging to understand grammar topics to make my students' learning experiences easier, faster and more enjoyable. Read More About Me

Recent Posts

Pin It on Pinterest