Learn English: The 2 ways to pronounce ‘THE’

buy generic viagra and cialis online {“en”:”Hello. I’m Gill from engVid, and today’s lesson is about the little word “the”, and how to say it, how to pronounce it. You might think: “What? I know how to pronounce that word”, but there are two different ways of pronouncing it, and this lesson is designed to show you how to work out which way to say it. Okay. So, the simple rule is: Before a consonant you say “thuh”, but before a vowel sound you say “thee”. So it’s either “thuh” or “thee”.

So, let me just go through some examples to show you how that works. So, before a consonant sound: “thuh”. “The banana”, “the dog”, but then we get our first exception, which is confusing because this word begins with an E which is a vowel letter, but the way it’s pronounced, it has a “ya” at the beginning: “Ya. European. European”, so we say: “Thuh European”, okay? So that’s a slight confusion to be aware of. Continuing on: “The flowers”, “the house”, “the man”, “the people”.

Another exception again because this word begins with a U, which is a vowel letter, but the actual sound when you say this sound is a “ya”, “university”, “university”. It’s not: “university”, it’s “university”. So: “thUH university”, okay? And finally: “The woman, the woman”. So that’s “the” before a consonant sound. So, let’s have a look at the other column. Before the vowel sound we say “thee”, so: “The apple”, “the elephant”, “the ice cream”, “the orange”, “the umbrella”. You can see here “umbrella” also begins with a U, just like “university”, but it’s not pronounced: “yumbrella”, it’s pronounced: “umbrella”, so: “thee umbrella, the umbrella”. Okay. And finally, here’s another funny one, it begins with an H, so you might think: “Well, that’s a consonant”, but it is actually a vowel sound because we don’t pronounce the H in this word.

You may know the word “heir”, which we had in another lesson about using “a” and “an”. The heir is usually, well, male, and the heiress, female; but often the word “heir” is used for female as well nowadays for reasons of equality. So, but: “the heiress”, “e”, so it’s an “e”, “heiress”, so that’s a vowel sound, so: “the heiress”. Okay? So that’s another one to remember, along with the “ya” sound here. So, it’s purely the way you say it which decides whether it’s “thuh” or “thee”. Okay? So now we’ll move on to a second screen, and we’ll do some sentences for you to work out how to pronounce each time the word “the” or “the” appears, so… Okay, so what I should have said at the end of the last section was the word “heir” and “heiress”, I didn’t explain what they meant. So, if you hadn’t seen the other lesson you wouldn’t… You might not know that, so “an heir” or “an heiress” is someone who inherits something, often money or property, something like that. So, okay. Right, so here is the test for you of how to pronounce the word “t-h-e”: “thuh” or “thee”, and as you can see, we have some sentences here.

And every time the word appears I’ve underlined it in red just to help you to see it. So, first sentence: “The ferry crossed the Irish Sea.” So, how would you pronounce the word there? Okay. So: “thuh” goes before a consonant sound, so “f” is a consonant, so: “Thuh fairy. The fairy crossed”, and what about this one? “I” is a vowel sound, so it’s “thee Irish Sea, the Irish Sea”. So: “The fairy crossed the Irish Sea.” Okay? Next one: “The right way is the only way.” Okay, so how would you pronounce those two? So, “r” is a consonant, so: “Thuh right way. The right way is”, “only”, that begins with an “o”, which is a vowel, “only”.

So: “thee only way. The right way is the only way.” Okay? Next one, we have three examples in this sentence, so: “The answer is at the back of the book.” So, what would you do there? “The answer, the back, the book”, so “answer” begins with “a”, which is a vowel, so it’s: “Thee answer. The answer is at”. “Back” and “book” begin with “b”, which is a consonant, so: “Thuh back of thuh book.” Okay. Next one: “The fire hasn’t reached the upper floor”. “Upper” means at the top of the building, up at the top. Okay, so: “fire” begins with an “f”, so that’s a consonant, so: “thuh fire. The fire hasn’t reached”, “upper” begins with “u” which is a vowel sound, so it’s: “thee upper floor. The fire hasn’t reached the upper floor.” Okay. Right. Next one: “The girl felt at home in the empty house.” So if you feel at home, you feel comfortable, you like your surroundings.

Okay. So: “girl” begins with “g” which is a consonant, so: “thuh girl. The girl felt at home in”, “empty” begins with “e” which is a vowel, so: “thee empty house. The girl felt at home in the empty house.” Okay. Next one: “I will join the union in the morning.” So, “union” is a… To do with your profession, for your employment rights and so on, and you pay a subscription to join. So: “I will join”, “union” begins with a “u” which is a vowel sound, so…

Ah, no, hang on. This is one of those exceptions. “Yunion”, so… I nearly caught myself out there. It’s a “ya” sound, so: “thuh union”. It’s not “thee” onion, because “onion” is a different word altogether, with an “o”, an onion is a vegetable, so this is the union. Okay, so: “I will join thuh union in”, “m” consonant, “thuh morning, the morning”. Okay. So that’s a funny little exception, there. Next one, say you’re in a big department store with lots of floors and they have escalators going up and down, and you can’t decide which department to go to first, so you’re with a friend, you might say: “Shall we take the up escalator or the down escalator?” Okay, so which one would you use? “Thuh” or “thee”? So, before “up”, “up”, letter “u” is a vowel sound, “up”, so it’s: “thee up, the up”.

“Shall we take the up escalator or”, then before “down”, “d” is a consonant, so: “thuh, the down escalator”. Okay? And then finally, here’s another one, a little exception because there’s an “h” here, which is not pronounced. So the word “honour”, “honourable”, it sounds like an “o”, we don’t pronounce the “h”, so: “It’s the honourable thing to do.” Which? Which would you use there? Okay, so: “It’s thee honourable”, this one. “…the honourable thing to do”. Okay, so I’m sure you got those all right, and we also have a quiz for you to test that a little bit further on the website, www.engvid.com, so do go to that and try that, see how many points you can get. And see you again soon. Okay. Bye for now.. “}

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