The most difficult words to pronounce in English:
- Words ending in -ed might sound as /id/ /t/ /d/ - for example, excited (id), finished (t), called (d). How do we find this out? Check a dictionary or go with the option that sound more natural;
- /w/ and /wh/ - written differently but pronounced the same way (witch–which);
- /ing/ - don’t pronounce the “g” and don’t make a ringing sound;
- /th/ does not sound like /d/ /f/ /v/ - some of the most difficult words are thought, think or thumb;
- Minimal pairs. These are words like sleep and slip, that are only different by one sound.
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Are you ready for a small quiz? Here's the top 10 of the most difficult words to pronounce in English:
Guide on how to pronounce the most difficult sounds in English:
The “L” sound
- Your tongue should touch the back of your front teeth and the top of your mouth, just behind your teeth.
- Say the word “light”. Say it a few times.
- Make sure your tongue touches the top of your mouth.
The “R” sound
- Your tongue should not touch the top of your mouth.
- Pull your tongue back to the middle of your mouth, near where it naturally rests if you weren’t saying anything.
- As you say the sound, your lips should be a little rounded.
- Say the word “right” a few times.
- You should feel air blowing between your tongue and the top of your mouth as you speak. You should also feel your lips get a little rounder when you make the sound.
Now for the “TH” sound
- This one may seem strange if you don’t have a similar sound in your native language.
- To make this sound, put your tongue between your top and bottom teeth.
- Your tongue should stick out a little between your teeth, and as you push air out of your mouth, let some air escape between your tongue and teeth—that’s what makes the sound.
- Say the word “think”. Repeat it a few times.
- Make sure you push your tongue between your teeth.