Learn how to pronounce the words INSECT, INCEST, INNOCENT, INNOCENCE with this quick English Speaking Pronunciation lesson.


Insect is a bug.

Incest is a crime of sexual relations between relatives.

Innocent is not guilty.

Innocence is purity.

These words are pronounced:

insect: /ɪn sɛkt/

incest: /ɪn sɛst/

innocent: /ɪn ə sɛnt/ or /ɪn ə s ə nt/ or /ɪn ə sɪnt/

innocence: /ɪn ə sɛns/ or /ɪn ə s ə ns/ or /ɪn ə sɪns/

Jennifer Tarle from Tarle Speech and Language guides you through a quick pronunciation lesson with quick tips to have you sounding clearer in no time. Improve your accent and speak clearly with this ESL English pronunciation lesson. Learn how to pronounce English words correctly to reduce your accent, gain confidence, and speak clearly today!


Hi there it’s jennifer from Tarle Speech with your pronunciation question.

We have four words today:
insect or a bug
incest which is a crime of sexual relations between relatives
innocent not guilty
innocent purity

So um let’s take a look at our words now as you can imagine if you say some of these words incorrectly it could be a very embarrassing mistake; so let’s start all of these words are going to start with the same syllable the in in in and to say this sound this beginning part of the word correctly you are going to think about smiling and here’s a tip for you that have trouble saying this short i sound say an e and then just relax your lips a little bit

ih ih ih so an e ih e ih

so in

then you’re going to touch the tip of your tongue to the back of your top front teeth: in in

All right so we all have that let’s move on to these bottom two words because we have this nice short schwa sound as a syllable
that’s an unstressed uh sound
your mouth is relaxed tongue is just hanging out in the middle of your mouth it’s very short very soft and lower and pitch
in a inna

Then for innocent we are going to end with the word sent s e n t
sent sent sent

So for the s the tip of your tongue either be pointing down or just behind your top teeth and the air is going to continue out we’re going to add that short eh sound and to do that your mouth is open you’re going to be able to see the tip of your tongue between your top and your bottom teeth but your mouth is not very open

and then you’re going to move to that n

air is coming out of your nose the tip of your tongue is behind your top front teeth that is touching
then you’re going to pull the tongue down for that t
sent sent sent in a sent innocent innocent innocent

some of you might be saying I think I heard you say a schwa there actually I did! I made a little bit of a mistake. I am teaching this as sent because I think that’s a little bit easier to remember sometimes when you’re thinking about a word; but ultimately what i’m doing is making this last vowel sound short and unstressed, and so when I do that, oftentimes, that will sound like a short uh.

So whether you say a short e, a short i, or short u does not matter as long as it’s extra short, extra soft, and it is lower in pitch.

Now for sense what we’re going to do is say this whole thing again, but instead of touching the teeth for the ending, you’re going to let your tongue either be right behind your top teeth, or pointed down a little bit, and the air is going to continue out,

in a sense
innocence innocence innocence

Now for insect again we’re going to start with the in then we are going to add sect. To do this start with the s sss, add that e sound, and then the k: tip of the tongue is down towards the bottom of the mouth and the back of the tongue is pulled very high up. Then touch the teeth for the t t

sect sect insect insect insect

For incest I think what happens here is people let the air move out of their mouth. That is the mistake for that s and then they stop it for the t so we have incest incest

So let’s give these all a try:

insect insect insect
incest incest incest
innocent innocent innocent
and innocence in a sense innocence

So i’m actually going to write on here so I don’t get any complaints from all of you that you can actually say sunt or suns at the end with that short u sound. That’s totally fine. But it might be easier for you to think of the short e. And that’s fine as well as long as it is short enough. And again you’ve been watching my videos you know I’m all about it’s all about being clear, you don’t have to be perfect, just be better understood.

So one more time:
insect insect insect
incest incest incest
innocent innocent innocent and
innocence innocence innocence

So give it a try people are going to notice the difference – if you found this helpful – we’d love a like a share and a subscribe; don’t forget to check out our products on google play and itunes and our classes at tarle speech.

Thanks so much everyone!