How to say MUM and MA’AM

This question comes from a YouTube viewer: “What's the difference between pronouncing 'ma'am' (like, madam) and 'mum' (like, mother)? I am going to London and need to know!” The vowel sound AH in MA'AM is pronounced with an open mouth. " Ma'am" rhymes with "Pam", "Sam", "ham and "lamb". The vowel…


Difference between NOSE and KNOWS

What is the difference between the words NOSE and KNOWS? Only the meanings are different.  The words are pronounced the same way. A NOSE is the part of your face used to smell. KNOWS  means to be aware of. Both words have three sounds: N-Long O-Z.


How to say CLOSE

You can pronounce CLOSE two ways depending on the definition. To say CLOSE as in near:  “C”, “L”, “O”, “S”. To say CLOSE as in to shut the door:  “C”, “L”, “O”, “Z”.


Common Words Spelled with S but Pronounced with Z

Yesterday’s viewer question asked about the common words pronounced with a final "Z".  Several people have asked about these words.  Here is list of common words, spelled with "S" but pronounced with a "Z" sound: AS IS HAS WAS HIS USE BECAUSE CAUSE THESE THOSE CLOSE CAUSE DOES EASE


How to Pronounce IS, HAS, WAS

Today’s listener question is: “I'm a foreigner here in the US. I saw your vids about the 'is' (iz) pronunciation. Sometimes though I hear some people (American themselves) say 'is' and not 'iz' (including commons like 'was', 'has', etc.). Were they just actually lazy to say how they are said…


How do you pronounce BEEN and BEING?

This excellent question comes from a podcast subscriber in Ecuador.    "Whats is the difference between been and being???" The difference is the vowels.  This vowel mistake is very common in most ESL speakers.  It is the long E versus the short IH.  Most of my clients get these sounds confused.…


Can you please tell me your name again?

I just finished reading a great book, The Mind’s Eye, by Dr. Oliver Sacks.  Even though the book is mainly about vision, I did find several chapters interesting in terms of communication.  One chapter in particular is “Face Blind”.  Several of my accent clients have reported their struggles with…


Syllables and Spelling

This viewer question comes from China:  "Can you tell me how to speak  "interview, indefinitely, writte­n, palm, twenty, forty, sixty" etc.  Thank you because I’m very confused." This is a big question.  I think the best way to approach this question is to look at syllables and spelling. Syllables…


How do you say: FOUR and FOR

This week’s word pair comes to us from Romania:  “I propose “four” and “for”.  I couldn’t find it anywhere.” These words are pronounced the same way.  The only difference in these words is the definition. FOUR is the number.  FOR is a word that indicates a purpose. Both words have two sounds: F-OR…


How to pronounce: Coat and Quote

This confusing word pair appears to be difficult.  But, it is really a simple fix.  This word pair is confusing because of the spelling. Let's look at the sounds in the words.  I think that you will be surprised. COAT is pronounced K, long O, T QUOTE is pronounced K, W, long O, T The only…