Learn to pronounce the words WORK, WALK, WORKED, and WALKED with this American English Pronunciation Lesson.


Work a job or something that has to be done.

Walk is to move on foot.


walk /wɔk/

work /wɜrk/

walked /wɔkt/

worked /wɜrkt/


Hello it’s Jennifer from Tarle Speech with your question of the week!

I’ve gotten this question a lot lately. It is how do I pronounce the word work, which is a task a job or something that has to be done, and walk, to move on foot. Let’s take a look at our words, um, to say these words correctly, let’s start with that w sound. To make the w sound, your lips are puckered and your tongue is just kind of flat in the middle of your mouth.

Let’s also talk about that k sound. To say this sound, the tip of your tongue is low in your mouth, the back of your tongue is pulled up, and the sound is just going to the air is going to puff out of your mouth for that k. k k
w k w k

Okay. So we have the first and the last sounds. Now what’s the difference between that oh and the er. Let’s start with that oh sound. To say that oh sound your mouth is going to be open in a wide oval shape, the tip of your tongue is going to be really low in your mouth, and the back of your tongue is going to be pulled high up, oh.


You can see with my hand, my tongue is flat, it moves down with the back pulled up for that oh, and it kind of stays there for the k.

Excellent! You can also see that we do not say the l sound here. So that saves a lot of you who struggle with that. We just don’t say the l sound. Now for the er sound. You can see my mouth is in a square tense shape. The tip of my tongue is either pointed down or flipped back. It really depends on the person. The back of my tongue is pulled high up, and it’s tense, and it stays there. The tip of my tongue does not move once I pick my spot. If it’s either down or back it stays there. It does not move. zit does not touch my teeth.
er er er
I make my r with the tip of my tongue down: er


You can see my tongue moves from flat, tip is down, and then the back pulls up more, while the tip goes even further down for that k.

So let’s put that all together again:

work work work
walk walk walk

I think one of the other things that I um realize people do is they try to say the o in work and we do not say an o and work at all. It’s just that er sound. Now what happens when we add an ed suffix to these words. All we’re going to do is add a t sound for that e d suffix. So we’re going to have work and walk. To do that, we’re going to end with that k, and you know the tip of the tongue is down, then you’re going to move the tip of the tongue to the back of the top front teeth. For that t, pull it down, and the air puffs out.

Let’s try them all together:

work work work
walk walk walk
worked worked worked
walked walked walked

and one more time

work worked walk walked
walked worked work walk

And now for a sentence:

“I walked to work. The walk helped me to work harder. I worked so hard after my walk to work.”

So give it a try I know people are going to notice the difference. If you found this helpful, please share this with your friends, and give us a like. If you need more help, check out our products and our class options at Tarle speech dot com.

Thank you so much everyone have an amazing weekend!