Learn how to pronounce the words CITY and SHITTY with this American English Pronunciation Lesson.


City is a large town.

Shitty means worthless, a contemptible person or action, or covered in excrement.


City: s-i-d-ee or /sɪti/

Shitty: sh-i-d-ee or /ʃɪˌti/


Hi everyone it’s Jennifer from Tarle speech with your question of the week.


A few weeks back I did a lesson on the word city and it was a short and I got a really great question and then I actually heard this mistake with a student in a class. And the word is city of course which I did the short about.  But the mistake is shitty and that can be a really embarrassing mistake. 


So a city is a large town and shitty means worthless, um, a contemptible person or action, or covered in excrement.  So you don’t want to confuse these words.  Okay let’s take a look at the words.  Let’s start with the endings because they’re both the same.  We have the d. This is technically a flap t but I teach it as a very fast d sound.  So to say this sound you can just touch the same spot that you do for the d, which is sort of the back of the top front teeth, if you want to get super fancy, you can move that tongue a little further back on the roof of the mouth, and just go for that fast d sound.  Then add that long e. Smile. Ttongue is nice and high and flat. d d d.


Now the difference. Here is the s in city and the s h in shitty.  Can’t believe I’m saying this word so much um but I want you to avoid embarrassment, so i’ll just keep going.  All right the sh is a sound one sound but it is spelled with two letters. We do not say an s and an h. No. Iit is a shh.


You can see for the sound, my lips are rounded and puckered, and air is moving out of my mouth. My tongue is behind my top front teeth shh.  It is flat and it is high up sh.  It is not near the front teeth, but it’s pulled back a little bit shh.  Okay, now for the s sound in city.  My tongue is a little more forward and you can see my mouth is sort of smiling. When my tongue is more forward you have a couple of options. Your tongue can be flat or the tip of your tongue can be pointed slightly down.


All right let’s try those two together







For a lot of people just focusing on the lips solves this whole problem.  So if you’re having trouble start there first and then really think about the tongue.  


All right let’s put these all together.


d c d city city city


I’m smiling for that whole word.


Now shih d shih dee 


shitty shitty shitty 


I like to think that my face looks kind of uh and that might be a little shitty.  If that helps you we’re gonna go with it. All right let’s try them together again:


 city shitty city shitty city city city shitty shitty shitty 


And now for a sentence:


I think the city is beautiful even though some people told me it was shitty.


So give it a try.  I know people are going to notice the difference.  If you found this helpful, please share us with your friends, and give us a like.  Iif you need help, check us out on tarle speech.  


Thanks so much everyone have a great week!