Hello! I'm Emma from mmmEnglish and in this
lesson, I'm going to share with you 10
English words that you're probably
mispronouncing! If you are learning to
speak English, then pronunciation is
probably one of the biggest frustrations
that you have right now and these words
that I've chosen are difficult because
of the combination of letters or sounds
in English. Together they can be quite
difficult or your eyes can, in fact, play
tricks on you because the letters that
you see, they don't sound like you think
they should and some of these words are
even difficult for native English
speakers to pronounce! But don't worry
about it, don't sweat, we are going to fix
these pronunciation problems right here,
right now in this lesson! Let's get
started! OK the first word is 'vegetable'
'vegetable'. Now this word is a challenge
because it looks like there should be
four syllables in this word. 'Vegetable'.
But there's not, there are three
syllables, 'vegetable'. Can you see the
syllable - that we completely forget the 'e'?
'Vegetable'. We don't pronounce that second
syllable. 'Vegetable', 'vegetable'.
I'm going to the market to get some
vegetables for dinner.
this word, just like 'vegetable', has an
extra vowel in there that we don't need
to pronounce. 'Comfortable', not 'comfortable'
or 'comfortable' but
-able'. 'Comfortable'. You skip that vowel
sound. 'Comfortable'. You look very
comfortable this afternoon.
'Almond'. Now in this word the 'L' is silent.
It's not 'almond' or 'almond' it's 'al-
-mond', 'almond', 'almond', 'almond'.
I'm going to make an
almond cake for dessert.
Now there are lots of other English words that have a
silent letter 'L' in them - words like
'salmon', not 'salmon', 'half', not 'half', 'would',
'talk', 'walk'. All of these words have a
silent 'L' in them, which makes them a
little bit tricky to pronounce correctly.
I've got a separate video that is all
about silent letters in English words
and I talk about the letter 'L' and lots
of other silent letters in that video.
You can check it out up here at the end
of this video!
OK, what about this one?
How many times
have you been asked to read a paragraph
out aloud in front of the class and
you've been reading and then you come
across this and you think, 'How on earth
am I going to say that?!' Lots of native
English speakers actually mess this up
as well and they'll pronounce X-cetera
or X-cetera and it should be pronounced
'et cetera', 'et cetera', 'et cetera'.
or 'et cetera', if you're like me. OK this one
is especially difficult! 'Clothes', 'clothes',
'clothes'. Now the reason why it's
especially difficult is because of the
two final consonant sounds, the '-th' and
the plural sound. Now this noun is of
course, always plural. Clothes refers to
shirts, shorts, trousers, jumpers, jackets
- anything that you wear is your clothes,
are your clothes! But 'clothes', 'clothes'
not 'cloths', not 'close' and not 'clothes' either!
The difficult thing about the
pronunciation of this word is the two
together. Both of
those sounds are voiced consonant sounds
so the sound is made here in your vocal
Now the thing to remember
that's really important is with that '-th' sound
you need to bring your teeth through
- your tongue through your teeth! Now the
'-th' sound is very, very soft. It is
definitely still there, it needs to sound
different from the verb 'close'. OK, which
doesn't have the '-th' sound. This word has
the '-th' sound, 'clothes', 'clothes'. It's very
short but it's definitely there! I need
to pack my clothes tonight because we
leave early in the morning. I need to
pack my clothes tonight.
'Jewellery', 'jewellery', 'jewellery'.
Again, we've got an extra vowel here that we don't need
to pronounce. We don't say 'jewellery',
'jewellery'. It's just 'jewellery' and actually
in American English the spelling is
slightly different to the British and
the Australian version. And the American
version should help you to pronounce
this word more correctly. 'Jewelry', 'jewelry',
so that's gold, silver, pearls, diamonds,
earrings, rings, necklaces - all of these
things that we wear to make ourselves
look more beautiful! I don't wear a lot
of jewellery myself. The only jewellery I
wear is this ring and sometimes some earrings.
This one is so often mispronounced! I hear
- which is incorrect! The '-ch' sound in this word is a
sound like in 'cat'.
It's not the same '-ch' sound
that you hear in words like 'chocolate'
and 'cheese', it's a sound and there are
quite a few English words that actually
have this same pronunciation of the '-ch'
combination - words like 'stomach' and 'ache'.
The '-ch' in all of these words is
pronounced like a sound.
My brother is an architect.
He went home early because he had a stomach ache.
'enthusiastic' or 'enthusiastic', but
'enthusiastic'. You have to work harder to
get this one correct! So many of my
students say "This one is too hard! I'm
just not going to use this word!" and I
say "NO, we are going to get it right,
right now, together here in this lesson!"
'Enthusiastic'. So what you need to do
is break down this word. Start with the
Where is your
tongue? What's it doing on that final
It's at the top of
your mouth and the 'n' sound is made back
in the soft palate - it's a nasal sound
and to move to the '-th' sound, you need to
of course, bring your tongue down and out
through your teeth.
The tongue must come out through the middle of your
teeth! If you don't, you will mispronounce
this word and you'll say 'enthusiastic'
or 'enthusiastic' instead. You need
See how I'm breaking that down for you?
Now you're going to be enthusiastic
about using that word!
Now you're probably mispronouncing
these words because you are looking at
the '-or' and you're trying to pronounce
the vowel sound 'or', like in 'door'.
But this is incorrect, the vowel sound is actually
as in 'her'. 'Work', 'world', 'word'.
This is your eyes playing tricks on you! Your eyes are
seeing these words, seeing the letters O
and R and they're telling you to
pronounce 'or' but, in fact, you should be
for all of these words!
'Word'. 'World. 'Work'.
If you pronounce 'or', especially for this last one, 'work', it
actually sounds a lot like the English
'Photograph'. Now perhaps you
can pronounce this word correctly,
'photograph', but what about all of the
other words in this word family?
'Photography', 'photographer', 'photographic'.
When my students mispronounce these
words, it's usually because they are
stressing the wrong syllable. English
words that have more than one syllable
always have one strong stressed syllable.
Sometimes there are secondary syllables
but there is always one main stressed
syllable that is clearer and stronger
than the others and the unstressed
syllable - the syllable that's not
stressed - is often reduced down to a
schwa vowel sound.
Now the schwa sound is the lazier sound
That's the schwa sound,
it's the laziest vowel sound in English.
And these stress patterns are exactly
what is different about the
pronunciation of these words, so in the
first example, 'photograph', the first
syllable is the stressed syllable. You
can hear it very clearly, 'photograph'.
The second syllable is
unstressed and it is reduced down to the
'Photograph', 'photograph', it's very short,
it's very lazy, it's not very strong at all.
Now if you look at the second
example, 'photography', you can hear the
pronunciation is different and that's
because the second syllable is the
stressed syllable in this word.
Compare it to the first syllable where the schwa
sound is - it reduces down to the schwa
sound and you just hear 'photography'.
The third example
'photographic', the stress is on the third
syllable, so you can hear how much
influence stress has on this word family.
To correctly pronounce all of these
words correctly you need to pay
attention to the stressed syllable
and that's true for a whole range of
different word families. 'Economic', 'analyze',
'nature, 'politics', all of these words and
their word families are influenced by
stress in different ways.
Well that's my official list of the words that you are
probably mispronouncing and I didn't
just make that list up, I built that list
over years and years of coaching English
students to improve their English
pronunciation. They're the words that
students consistently get wrong! Many
different students, many different times,
they are the ones that are the most
difficult for you to pronounce.
I hope that you enjoyed this lesson, if you did
make sure you subscribe by clicking the
red button here. I mentioned a video
about silent letters earlier in this
lesson, you can watch it here and you can
also watch my imitation lessons right
here and those lessons are fantastic for
improving your English pronunciation and
expression by speaking with a native
English speaker. Thanks for watching and
I will see you in the next lesson.
Bye for now!