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3 English Pronunciation Tips

English pronunciation tips

Learn these 3 English Pronunciation tips. These three simple things will lead to your English pronunciation having huge improvements.

Let’s get started!

Start pronouncing the plural correctly of words that end in the letters “st” or “sk”

When you have words that end in the letters “st” or “sk”, for instance, 

  • Last
  • Tourist 
  • Task
  • Mask

Pronouncing the plural of these words, just like most other words, means that you need to add an “s” to the end, however, doing so is going to require you to make a little extra effort because of the hard combination of “sts” and “sks”. 

We know it’s a little hard to pronounce these combinations, so try this tip.

Try to think of the /s/ sound as if it were an extra syllable, that is to say, pronounce the /s/ at the end sort of like a different syllable, while also trying to keep everything together.

So, let’s try this pronunciation tip for sts and sks!

  • Lasts – /lɑːsts
  • Tourists – /ˈtʊərɪsts
  • Tasks – /tɑːsks
  • Masks – /mɑːsks

See what we mean? 

So, in order to pronounce that last “s” sound correctly, you should consider the final “s” as part of another syllable. Doing this is a little unnatural, we know, but by doing this, you’ll be pronouncing this difficult sound combination the correct way. 

By the way, don’t get intimidated by these weird symbols “//, //”, they are just symbols that we use to represent the sounds – it’s just so you can get somewhat of a visual representation of the sounds to make it easier for you to remember how to pronounce the sounds. 

You don’t need to memorise these symbols, so do not worry!

Know the difference between short and long vowels

English vowels are kind of a complicated wee thing. Did you know that English has short vowels and long vowels? 

Distinguishing between short and long vowels and using them correctly will make a massive difference. This is because, if you utter a word using a short vowel when the word you’re pronouncing actually has a long vowel, then, the person you are talking to may hear another word entirely – even one that you did not intend to say!

For example, here are the 5 long vowels in English, in five separate words, which you should be pronouncing with a long vowel and NOT a short vowel. Take note of the two dots – they signal that the vowel sound is LONG and NOT short. 

  • /bɜːd/ – bir
  • /lɔː/ – law
  • /ˈfɑːðə/ – father
  • /s/ – see
  • /j/ – you

Some examples of shorter vowels are

  • /sɪt/ – sit
  • /pʊt/ – put
  • /rʌn/ – run
  • /ɒf/ – off
  • /sæd/ – sa

Knowing whether a vowel is long or short is as simple as looking up the word in a good dictionary such as Oxford or Cambridge and observing if the symbol representing the sound has two dots next to it. If so, then the sound is long!

Furthermore, you should also listen to the word as well to double-check.

Why don’t you test yourself after this lesson, with the following three words: 

  1. Saw
  2. Hard
  3. Cup

After first pronouncing these words yourself, look them up in Oxford, (link in the description), and see for yourself if these three words contain either short or long vowels.

Get into the habit of doing this more often! It’ll make a huge difference in your English Pronunciation!  

Our chart goes over the different types of vowel sounds in English.

There are 2 ways we pronounce the letter pair “th” – learn them!

When it comes to pronouncing the letter pair “th” in words like: 

  • Think – /θɪŋk/
  • Thief – /θiːf/
  • This – /ðæt/
  • The – /ðə/

There are two, subtly different sounds for the letters “th”. 

/θ/ – which has more of a strong flow of air that should go through your teeth

As we have in the first two words:

  • Think – /θɪŋk/
  • Thief – /θiːf/

This sound is the more common of the two, and the sound that most commonly represents the letter pair “th” in most cases. 

/ð/ – which is very similar to the previous sound, only much less air!

For example, let’s look at these words: 

  • This – /ðæt/
  • The – /ðə/

Importantly, most of the time, the letter pair “th” is represented by this /θ/ sound, however, it is important to see the difference and pronounce the “th” sound correctly.

More examples of the first sound /θ/, which is more common, are for example, 

  • Thought – /θɔːt/
  • Thanks – /θæŋks/
  • Thorn – /θɔːn/
  • Thumb – /θʌm/
  • Thigh – /θaɪ/

As you can see, even though there are two sounds for the letter pair “th”, this last sound is more common. Just make sure you’re pronouncing both sounds correctly!

Again, don’t take too much notice of these weird symbols! Just focus on getting your pronunciation correct. 

Until next time, and pretty pretty please, like and subscribe to our channel! 

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