One of the most difficult things about learning English is using the correct English pronunciation.
But good English pronunciation is much more than just having the right accent. In fact, although accent reduction is important for some jobs, many people just need to be understood in different situations.
In this section on English Pronunciation you can find articles to help you speak more clearly and with greater confidence. We'll show you how to use word stress and sentence stress correctly, how to use intonation in statements and questions, how to use a dictionary to improve your pronunciation, how to spell English correctly, as well as many other tips and strategies.
3 simple tips to improve your English pronunciation
1. Don't speak too fast
If you're nervous you often speak faster. Try to slow down and emphasise the most important words. These are words like nouns, verbs or adjectives. Remember that the other words in your sentence (for example the grammatical words) will then be unstressed.
2. Pay attention to word stress
If a word has more than two syllables (for example, "sim-ple" has two syllables while "im-por-tant" has 3 syllables) one syllable is stressed. We say sim-ple and not sim-ple; im-por-tant and not im-por-tant or im-por-tant, for example. Getting this stress right is one of the best things you can do to quickly improve your English pronunciation.
3. Focus on the difficult sounds
If you're a French speaker, this might be the /th/ sound, while if you're an Arabic speaker, this might be the /p/ and /b/ sounds. Learn how the sound should be produced in your mouth - and make an effort to produce it correctly. It can sound strange at first, but keep going! With practice you can make a real difference to your English pronunciation.
More help with your pronunciation
Here are some more ways you can improve your English pronunciation.
Most online dictionaries will give you the audio of a word. For example, the Macmillan dictionary, the Cambridge dictionary and the OED (Oxford English Dictionary). You can also listen to audio on Forvo and howjsay. If you're intermediate level and higher, check out the Pronunciation Workshop.
More pronunciation exercises and help
- How a dictionary helps you with English pronuncation
- The "Or" Sound: Quick Pronunciation Lesson
- English Alphabet Pronunciation
- The Schwa Sound: Speak English Like a Native
- Ten Pronunciation Mistakes: Are You Saying These Words Wrong?
- Improving your English Accent
- Silent sounds in English
- Noun and verb syllable stress
- Linking between words
- How to pronounce dates and numbers in English
- Improving your English Pronunciation