7 pieces of advice for improving your pronunciation in english

A while ago we recommended some tools for improving your pronunciation in English, today it´s time to give you some guidelines for improving in this skill.

Learning to pronounce words correctly in English is one of the most complex parts of the language.

You may have mastered the grammar and vocabulary, but when it comes to being understood, something is missing.

The reality is that English has sounds that don´t exist in Spanish. And the vowels are something else that will make you go crazy.

For example, whey, way, and weigh are all pronounced the same, but tomb, bomb, and comb aren´t.

English pronunciation is an authentic challenge. The sound of the words and letters aren´t the only important things; intonation, accent, syllables etc… are also very important.

They are all basic aspects for your communication to be successful.

If you want to be understood well, continue reading and discover 7 tricks for perfecting your pronunciation in English.

1. Listening

It may seem obvious, but before learning how to speak you should learn how to listen. Are you able to differentiate between chin and shin, knows and nose?

There are many examples. And although when they are written you might know that they aren´t the same, the key is knowing the difference when you hear them.

If you distinguish between them, you will be able to demonstrate this when speaking. The key is working on your listening. You could watch television series, listen to music, radio stations etc…


With real oral examples you will be able to improve your pronunciation in english. And if you push yourself, try to imitate the intonation that English-speakers use.

Concentrate on the sounds, stress, tone, movement of the lips and their language…

Analise even the smallest of details, work on your listening skills, and you will see that everyone will start to understand you much better.

2. Watch the movement of the lips

When you talk, the movement of your mouth affects the way you pronounce things. The first thing that you should do is to correct the position of your own and pay attention.

To check the position, you can use a mirror. Stand back and watch how your lips move when you articulate certain phrases.

You can also put your index finger in front of your mouth as if you want to shh someone.

Try to talk without moving your finger. You must feel how your lips open and close.

Watch how people´s mouths move when speaking, try to repeat what your favourite actors and singers say. Can you do it?

There are guides and images that can help you with the movements of your mouth.

On the website Sounds in English, you can see and learn how sounds are pronounced in English.

3. Pay attention to your tongue

Another of the elements that affects your pronunciation in English is the movement of your tongue when speaking.

If you concentrate well on this example: the difference between rice and slice, resides precisely here.

Although we all speak in an automatic way, it´s convenient to concentrate on your tongue to improve your pronunciation in English.

Words that include the letters L, R, and TH are some of the most difficult to pronounce.

In this video, they will explain this in a more detailed way:

Enjoy this example full of humour about the TH sound.


Do you notice the difference when your tongue is in different places?

4. Learn the International Phonetic Alphabet

Do you know what it is? It´s a visual representation of the different sounds, in particular English pronunciations.

It may seem strange, but it is very useful to improve your pronunciation in english. Have you noticed that in dictionaries there are phonetic translations of words?

It´s important that you notice them, because the way they are written doesn´t always correspond to how they are spoken.

Look at this chart from the British Council so that you have an idea about the sounds of the phonemes; a good way of understanding phonetics.


5. Spelling in phonemes

Words are composed of syllables. And it´s much easier to learn how to pronounce each part than the whole thing together.

To know how many syllables each word has, you can work this out by speaking slower, while you have your hand on your throat. Each time in vibrates, you have found one.

If this method seems a bit confusing, we recommend you visit How Many Syllables. There you will be able to see the syllables and their correct pronunciation.

6. Put stress on the sounds and words

If you have noticed, English is a language with a strong stress. And this implies that there will be words whose importance or meaning will vary according to stress.

That is to say, if you say PRE-sent, you are referring to a gift. However, if you say pre-SENT, you are using the verb.

There are various rules about this. One of them, is that the majority of nouns with two syllables are stressed on the first one. While verbs of two syllables are stressed on the second.

If this seems complex, don´t worry. You don´t have to memorise them all. The best way of learning is practising and listening.

With time, everything will come to you naturally.

Sentences also have stresses, which suggests that certain words are more important than others and they are pronounced with more or less intensity.

Look at this example:

“I ate some coffee with milk in the evening

The words in bold are the stressed ones. If you say the phrase correctly, you will notice that the rhythm slows before the most important terms.

Take it as an exercise. Speak out loud and pay attention to the stress that people make when they speak.

7. Record yourself while you practise

It´s not the first time we´re saying this. Perfection is achieved with practise. And a good method of knowing if you are improving your pronunciation in English is watching yourself speak.


You don´t have to complicate the recording. It´s fine to use your phone camera which I´m sure you have. And start from there.

After, it is recommendable that you compare your recordings with another person who says the exact same thing.

A good idea is choosing phrases from a film that you like and record yourself while you imitate the pronunciation of the actors. Have you noticed your errors? Then, try again.

If you have an English-speaking friend, you can also ask them to check and listen to see if your pronunciation is correct. And they can give you oral exercises to help you improve.

To improve in this skill, you must be patient and focused. It´s very advisable that you sign up to an English academy and take advantage of conversation classes.

Our objective is to help you speak like an authentic native, you can!

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