How to Pronounce the
Normally, we pronounce the with a short sound (like "thuh"). But when the comes before a vowel sound, we pronounce it as a long "thee".
|a||the apple||thee apple|
|e||the egg||thee egg|
|i||the ice-cream||thee ice-cream|
|o||the orange||thee orange|
|u||the ugli fruit||thee ugli fruit|
It is important to understand that it is what we say that matters, not what we write. It is the sound that matters, not the letter used in writing a word. So we use a long "thee" before a vowel sound, not necessarily before a vowel. Look at these cases:
|we write||with||we say||because|
|the house||consonant h||thuh house||consonant sound|
|the hour||consonant h||thee our||vowel sound|
|the university||vowel u||thuh youniversity||consonant sound|
|the umbrella||vowel u||thee umbrella||vowel sound|
Emphatic the [thee]
When we wish to place emphasis on a particular word, we can use "emphatic the" [thee], whether or not the word begins with a consonant or vowel sound. For example:
A: I saw the [thuh] President yesterday.
B: What! The [thee] President of the United States?
A: Yes, exactly!