Practice with me to avoid these pronunciation mistakes!

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Hi everyone! I’ve heard a lot of students’ speaking samples, and in today’s lesson I’d like to address a few of the pronunciation mistakes that I’ve been correcting.

First of all, don’t feel bad if you make a pronunciation mistake! It’s really easy to do this in English, especially because we have so many similar sounds and so many words that are pronounced differently from the way they’re written.

So if you mess up a word – don’t be embarrassed, it’s not the end of the world. I can usually understand what you were trying to say.

Words that should have a long “I”, but are mispronounced with a short “i” or “ee” sound

All these words should have a “long I” as in the words like, white, ride, and ice.

Sometimes, learners pronounce them with a “short i” (hit, sick, if) or with an “ee” sound (we, see, eat).

  • climate
  • finance
  • isolated
  • migrant
    Note: different from immigrant, where both “i”s are short
  • priority

Words that native speakers usually pronounce “shorter”

There are certain words which you may be pronouncing very carefully, making sure to say each syllable clearly – but native English speakers will often “drop” one syllable in the word when speaking fast:

several SEV-ral                    (not SE-ve-ral)
interesting IN-tres-ting            (not IN-ter-es-ting)
different DIFF-rent                (not DIF-fer-ent)
every EV-ry                        (not E-ver-y)
favorite FAV-rite                   (not FAV-o-rite)
vegetable VEG-ta-ble               (not VEG-e-ta-ble)
camera CAM-ra                     (not CA-me-ra)
desperate DES-prit                 (not DES-per-ate)
chocolate CHOC-lit                 (not CHOC-o-late)


Words with similar sounds

Practice and repeat:

  • horse, corn, force, course
    curb, early, worse, curse
  • hope, boast, open, most
    bus, mud, us, must
  • under, hug, fun, hungry
    can, and, plan, angry
  • The “t” is very soft and the “en” is barely heard in “eaten.”
    I’ve already eaten
    The second syllable is more pronounced in “eating”
    I’m eating breakfast right now.
  • take, maybe, face, taste
    wet, ten, less, test
    extra, sex, next, text
  • The first is pronounced with the stress on the first syllable: COU-sin
    The vowel is like in cut and cover.
    The second is pronounced with the stress on the second syllable: cui-SINE
    There’s a small “w” sound: cwi-ZEEN

Words that seem similar but have different pronunciations:

  • cheese, leaf, chief
    if, chick, mischief
  • lie, hide, smile, child
    bill, chill, will, children
  • how, cow, town, count
    gun, come, run, country
  • name, late, nature
    apple, nap, naturally
  • far, car, scar
    air, care, scared
  • wood, stood, woman
    win, chin, women

I hope you’ve enjoyed today’s pronunciation practice! Let me know if you have a word that is giving you trouble.

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Practice with me to avoid these pronunciation mistakes! Espresso English

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