We want to hear from you! Tell us which words you find the most difficult, and we will provide recordings for you to practice these words. Choose from the list below, or add your own words. We'll help you say what you really want to say, and to say it correctly. Recordings will be added to this post as they are requested.
Sixth /sɪksθ/: This word has three consonants at the end. Practice by first saying six /sɪks/, making sure you have the ks on the end. Then add voiceless th /θ/ by slowly stretching out the ksth. Use the recording to the right to help you. For more practice with ordinal numbers, (1st, 18th, 100th, etc.), subscribe to our S.M.A.R.T. Video Course.
Thursday /'θɹz,deɪ/: This word starts with voiceless th, then has vowel er, voiced z, and finally the word day. I recommend starting with the th and er vowel by themselves, then adding the last two elements. Use the recording to the right to help you. For help with voiceless th and vowel er, see our videos on these sounds.
Turned /tɹnd/: The challenge in this word is combining vowel er /ɹ/ with the consonant cluster nd. Start by making a strong "er" sound. Next add your initial t, saying "ter." Finally, add the consonant cluster nd. Try saying "it" after the word to help you get the voiced d sound. "Turned it" or "turned around" are good phrases to practice. Use the recording to the right to help you.
Figures /'fɪgjɹz/: This word is pronounced differently in American English vs. British English. We include the vowel Er /ɹ/ and the glide "y" /j/ in the word. Broken up, the word sounds like the fig and yerz put together. "Fig-yerz." Use the recording to build this word by syllables.
Clothes /kloðz/: This word has a challenging consonant cluster at the end: voiced th /ð/ plus voiced z /z/. Many people will pronounce this word the same as the word close, that is, without the voiced th /ð/. In fact, in the dictionary, both pronunciations are listed and are correct. Try mastering the easier way first: /kloz/. Then, if you'd like to use the voiced th, start by saying "clothe" and add the z. Use the recording to help you.
Economic /,ɛkə'namɪk/: When saying this word, focus on the 3rd syllable "na." It has the stress and should be longer than the other syllables. Use the recording to help you.
Are /aɹ/: This word consists of two vowels which glide together, also known as a diphthong. The word starts with vowel ah /a/ and glides to vowel er /ɹ/. Use the recording to help you. Click here to read more to help you improve your American R, or sign up for our S.M.A.R.T. Video course for videos to learn American R.
Question /'kwɛstʃən/: The letter Q says kw in this and most other words. Read more about pronouncing Q words here. The middle of this word contains a blend with s and ch. Use the recording to help you.
Genre /'ʒanrə/: This word is borrowed from the French, and is pronounced similarly, but with an American r rather than a French r. The first sound, /ʒ/, is not a phoneme we typically have at the start of words in English. It is the sound represented by the letter "s" in the words treasure and measure.
Yes /jɛs/: This word begins with the glide /j/, which is basically sliding between /i/ and /ə/. The glide /j/ sounds like "ee-yuh" if you say it by itself, slowly. In this word, it sounds more like "ee-eh" because yes has vowel eh/ɛ/. Be careful not to make a hard j /dʒ/ sound instead of a glide. Yes, not Jess.
Bakery /'bei kə ri/: This word has three syllables. The stress falls on the first syllable, which means you should hold "bay" longer than "kery. The second and third syllables tend to run together. Make sure you use an American vowel "ay" and a tight "r" sound in this word.
There /ðeiɹ /: This word begins with a voiced th sound. Make sure you have your tongue between your teeth and you continue the sound. The second sound in the word is the diphthong "air," which involves sliding from "ay" to "er." Try it slowly first, then smooth it and speed it up. Keep your tongue back and tight for the "er." Use the recording to help you.
Together /təgɛðɚ/: The first thing to note about this word is that the initial syllable "to" is pronounced "tuh" /tə/. This is because the stress on this word is on the second syllable, "ge" /gɛ/. The voiced th and vowel er of the last syllable can be a difficult combination - practice this by itself, putting your tongue forward for "th" and pulling it back and tight for "er."
How to say "sixth."
How to say "Thursday."
How to say "turned."
How to say "figures."
How to say "clothes."
How to say "economic."
How to say "are."
How to say "question."
How to say "genre."
How to say "yes."
How to say "bakery."
How to say "there.
How to say "together."