One of the toughest things you will find about learning English is that words don’t always sound as you would expect them to. This is because English is a combination of many other languages. English learners from all over the world face different challenges with pronunciation because of interference from their first language.

There are, however, some words that students from all over the world have trouble with. Let’s take a look at them.

Importance of Pronunciation

English speakers can be easily misunderstood when pronouncing words incorrectly. Furthermore, when only one word is pronounced incorrectly, many people will think they understand you and therefore won’t ask for clarification. This can lead to some very confusing miscommunications!

That’s why it’s important to identify and fix common pronunciation mistakes to create smoother relationships with new English-speaking friends, business contacts, service people such as waiters or hairdressers and many others.

The 2 Elements of Pronunciation

Following are the two aspects that affect pronunciation:

Word Stress

When used in the context of linguistics, the word stress essentially refers to the syllable in a word that’s emphasized the most. Stress is very important when speaking English because a word can entirely change meaning depending on where you put the stress.

Consider the word “contest,” which has two syllables: con-test.

You can either put stress on the first syllable or the second, which would be as follows:



The word with stress on the first syllable is a noun that means “a competition.” The word with stress on the second syllable is a verb that means “to oppose.” Note that in this case, the word stress not only changes the meaning of the word but also the part of speech (noun vs. verb).


If you didn’t raise or lower your voice at certain parts of each sentence, you’d sound like a robot! Intonation involves the rise and fall of your voice when speaking in full sentences. Incorrect intonation can change the meaning of a sentence or just sound very strange to native speakers. It’s especially important for conveying feelings or adding nuance to sentences.

For example, think about the sentence, “Why are you home so late?”

It’s important to master English intonation if you want to sound natural and keep listeners focused on the content of your sentences. Here’s an in-depth guide to how English speakers use intonation in different contexts.

Also Read : Daily Use of English Sentences in Conversations: Spoken English Sentences for Everyday

Pronunciations You Should Avoid


This word has only one syllable, the ‘e’ is silent and the ‘s’ makes a ‘zzz’ sound. Be careful not to say ‘clothe iz’.


This word only has two syllables ‘koh-leeg’. Make sure not to pronounce the ‘ue’ at the end. When it’s a plural, the ‘s’ makes a ‘zzz’ sound like in ‘clothes’.


Many people have trouble pronouncing English words that have two ‘r’ sounds close together. Make sure to pronounce both ‘r’ sounds: Feb-roo-a-ree, not Feb-yoo-a-ree. Similarly, ‘library’ should be pronounced ‘li-bra-ri’.


Be careful to avoid adding extra syllables in the middle of words. For example, make sure there are only two syllables in ‘athlete’: ath-leet, not ath-a-leet.

Escape and Especially

Putting an extra ‘x’ sound in words with ‘es’ is a common mistake in English. Make sure to say ‘escape’ and ‘especially’ rather than ‘excape’ or ‘expecially’.


Watch out for silent letters. On ‘Wednesday’, the ‘d’ is silent. The word is pronounced ‘wenz-day’.


If you go to the doctor, he or she might give you a prescription to take to the pharmacist so you can buy any medicine you need. Sometimes people mix up the ‘re’ with ‘er’ and say ‘per-scrip-tion’ instead of pronouncing it correctly as ‘pre-scrip-tion’.


Mixing up the ‘s’ and ‘k’ in ‘ask’ is a very common mistake that many native-speakers make. In fact, it is a common part of some English dialects. If you are learning general English, make sure to say ‘ask’ not ‘ax’ so that it sounds correct to people all over the world.


Again, this is a word where people often get confused about the order of the sounds and pronounce it ‘nu-cu-lar’. Remember to get the sounds in the correct order and pronounce it ‘nuc-lee-ar’.


The final common mistake is with the word ‘pronunciation’ itself! Many people get confused with the sound of the verb form ‘pronounce’ and say ‘pronunciation’ for the noun form. This is incorrect. Make sure to say ‘pro-nun-si-ay-shun’ if you want to be correct.

Also Read : What Are Homophones and Homographs And Why You Should Know Them

Tips to Work on English Pronunciation

First and foremost, let us remind ourselves that excellent pronunciation is not required for the speaker to be comprehended. You’ll be relieved to learn that the majority of native English speakers consider foreign accents appealing. Furthermore, they are excellent conversation starters.

As an English student, all you have to do is make sure your dialect isn’t too heavy, as this will make it harder for others to understand you. Fortunately, there are a variety of methods available to help you enhance your pronunciation.

Gently Speak and Exaggerate Your Sounds

Many English students believe that speaking quickly will give them a better image. Normally, this isn’t the case. Slurring their voice and reinforcing negative habits is common when people speak quickly. Gently speaking, on the other hand, allows you to consider what you’re saying and how you’re expressing it. You will also feel calmer as a result of it.

Also, when practising your language, it’s a good idea to start by exaggerating your sounds. Pay extra attention to the words you can’t pronounce. This may appear unusual at first, but don’t be concerned. It’s a fantastic way to practise your pronunciation.

Keep the Physical Aspect of Pronunciation in Mind

When speaking a different language, your speech functions will be used in a different way. To put it another way, your tongue, lips, and throat will be used in ways you’re not used to. This is why it’s crucial to pay close attention to native speakers’ lips and try to imitate them in front of the reflection.

Podcasts and Videos Focused on Pronunciation

One of the best aspects of the Internet is the abundance of free resources available on any subject. You’ll find numerous helpful clips on YouTube that focus on strategies to assist you to improve your pronunciation if you do a quick internet search.

Make English Listening to a Part of Your Everyday Life

Hearing the correct method to pronounce the various English sounds is an important element of pronunciation. There are several nuances that the inexperienced ear misses. 

The only way to learn to distinguish those sounds and become accustomed to their pronunciation is to listen to a bunch of English. This is why it’s critical that you strive to immerse yourself as much as possible in English video and music.

Also Read : The Formula of Present Perfect Continuous Tense: Facts and Rules to Know

Disintegrate Words into Syllables and Practice Hard Sounds

There are several pictures and videos in books and on the internet that show how to pronounce each sound using your tongue and lips. In front of the reflection, begin practising challenging sounds by understanding where to put your tongue and how to form your mouth.

It helps in breaking a hard word into syllables and saying each one slowly while pronouncing a hard word, not simply a sound.

Practice and Film Yourself at Home

Students are terrified of making mistakes, which is why pronunciation issues continue. It’s important to remember that it’s a talent that only becomes better with practice. So, to avoid feeling self-conscious, practise your speech at home. Pretend you’ve been asked questions and start a conversation with yourself.

It will be really beneficial if you film yourself on video or camera as you practise so that you can return to watch and listen for your errors.

Listening to portions of natural English conversation and then recording yourself reciting those chunks is a terrific practice to try. Try it a couple of times. Pronounce the utterances as closely as you can to the native speakers.

Copy Native Speakers 

When we say “shadowing,” we’re referring to the practice of imitating native speakers. Pay heed to any native English video or audio content in small segments hit the stop button, and try to imitate the speaker. According to several experts, this method is the most similar to how children learn their original language.

Read It Loud

Reading aloud every day is a great method to enhance your skills, but only if you know how to pronounce words correctly. Otherwise, you might not realise you’re making mistakes, and frequent reading will simply exacerbate the problem. If you have the opportunity, ask an English speaker to supervise you if you are uncertain about any parts of your pronunciation.


Correct pronunciation makes a positive impact and shows your command over the language. Therefore, it is greatly necessary that you make sure you are pronouncing words correctly. Once you’ve mastered these words, your pronunciation will be more correct. 

Want to master the English language? Try out The Fluent Life now!

Also Read: Telephone Conversation in English: Formal Phone Conversation Examples for Better Understanding