Hello students!

In this lesson, we cover four commonly used words in the English language and learn how to pronounce them in their weak form.

The weak form is the natural way that native speakers use these words, so you will need to practise using these pronunciations in your conversations to really enhance your English-speaking skills.

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Today’s lesson: How to pronounce: ‘a’, ‘an’, ‘the’, and ‘some’

In today’s lesson we’re going to learn how to pronounce: ‘a’, ‘an’, ‘the’ and ‘some’. These four words are among the most frequently used words in the English language.

Four very important words in English: ‘a’, ‘an’, ‘the’, ‘some’

I am going to teach you to pronounce them in their weak form, which is the natural way that native speakers use these words.

Many of my students know the weak pronunciations of these words in theory, but I often find that they’re not applying it practically. So even if you know this, I want you to practise this again with me in this lesson.

I would also like to set you an exercise. This week, when you’re speaking English, make sure you apply what we’re going to learn in this lesson. It is important that you take your knowledge from a theoretical level to a practical level.

How to pronounce ‘a’

Strong: /eɪ/

Pronunciation of ‘a’ strong form

Weak: /ə/ – Sounds like “uh”

Pronunciation of ‘a’ weak form

It doesn’t get simpler than “a.” Native speakers can use both the strong and weak form of “a”, but most of the time when we’re speaking in a natural flow, we use the weak form.

You’ve got to train your ear to be able to hear it, because it’s such a quick sound, it is easy to miss.

Examples phrases:

He drives a car.

I gave him a present.

She told me a joke.

How to pronounce ‘an’

Strong: /æn/

Pronunciation of ‘an’ strong form

Weak: /ən/ – Sounds like “uhn”

Pronunciation of ‘an’ weak form

The strong form of this word uses the same vowel that is in the word, “cat.”

But again, the weak form is more commonly used by native speakers. The weak form is pronounced like “uhn.”

Example phrases:

He drives an old car.

She’s an actor.

Do you want an apple.

How to pronounce ‘the’

Strong: /ðiː/ – Sounds like “thee”

Pronunciation of ‘the’ strong form

Weak: /ðə/

Pronunciation of ‘the’ weak form

“The” is actually the most common word in the English language. It’s ranked number one. The strong form sounds like “thee.” But we don’t really use it that much. The example that always comes to mind is the old-fashioned ending of a black and white film when it says, “The End.” It is using the strong form because it sounds more final.

Example phrases:

Go to the bank.

Talk to the doctor.

The children were laughing.

How to pronounce ‘some’

Strong: /sʌm/

Pronunciation of ‘some’ strong form

Weak: /səm/

Pronunciation of ‘some’ weak form

Our last word is “some”.

For the strong form, the vowel we have is /ʌ/ like in the word “up.”

Native speakers can use both the strong and weak form of this word, but again, when said in day-to-day conversation we usually pronounce the word “some” in its weak form.

In my accent, the /ʌ/ and /ə/ (schwa) vowels are very close together. The main difference between these vowel sounds is that the weak form with schwa will sound quieter and faster inside a word or sentence.

Example phrases:

Have some water.

Do you want some cake?

Can you lend me some money?

THE END!
The stressed pronunciation of ‘The End’, like the one we hear at the end of an old film.

Thank you for joining me for this lesson.

Please remember the exercise I want you to do this week. When you are speaking English, try to pronounce these common words in their weak form because this is the way that native speakers speak English.

If you start using these weak forms, it’s going to elevate your English and give you a much better rhythm. They’re small words, but they’re very important for the overall music of your English.

Thank you again for joining this lesson. Don’t forget to subscribe to my email newsletter (see the box below) to be informed of my latest Clear Accent lessons.

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Jade Joddle grows your confidence and skill to shine when speaking English.

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