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25 Difficult Words to Pronounce

speak outThis morning we asked our EnglishClub Facebook fans, tweeters, and chatters to tell us which English words are the most difficult to pronounce. Here is the first batch of most difficult words according to you!

Let’s practise these words together:
1) Listen to the word. (wait for a one second pause after)
2) Say the word with me.
3) Say the sentence with me.

Are you ready?

1. thistle (allow a pause and then repeat with me)
Be careful not to step on the thistle.

2. crisps
Potato chips are called crisps in England.

3. should
You should not pronounce the l when you say the word should.

4. would
Would and wood sound the same when you say them out loud.

5. clothes
Put on warm clothes before you head outside today.

6. order
The order of these words is not important.

7. murder
A man was charged with murder over the holidays.

8. air
The air is so cold you can see your breath.

9. literature
You can download classic literature for free online.

10. language
English is a difficult language to learn.

11. onomatopoeia
Onomatopoeia refers to words that sound like their meaning.

12. deterioration
It is difficult to watch the deterioration of a friend’s health.

13. little
If you practise, your English will improve little by little.

14. assailant
The assailant was caught by the police.

15. catastrophic
A catastrophic earthquake struck the centre of the city.

16. alter
Don’t alter your plans just because I can’t go.

17. exclamation
One exclamation mark is enough to get your point across.

18. crocodile
Captain Hook was petrified of the crocodile in the movie Peter Pan.

19. unfortunate
It is unfortunate that the weather has delayed our trip.

20. six
Six plus six equal twelve, which is also known as a dozen.

21. development
The development of new technology has allowed us to receive information very quickly.

22. decision
It wasn’t my decision to have a picnic in the rain.

23. ambulance
When you hear an ambulance you must pull over to the side of the road.

24. law
The law states that residents must clear their sidewalk when it snows.

25. low
If you bend down low, you will see where the children are hiding.

Pronunciation note: I have a Canadian accent. This is similar to an American accent. Your teacher may have a different accent, such as a British one.

Thank you to the MyEC chatters and all of the Tweeters and Facebook friends who helped create this list. Share your own difficult words in the comments below. Add an example sentence and we may use it in an upcoming audio post.

Written by Tara Benwell for EnglishClub | January 2010
Tara Benwell is a Canadian freelance writer and editor who specializes in materials and articles for the ELT industry.


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