Tongue twisters are phrases that are difficult to say and make your tongue feel like it is all twisted up. Many people say tongue twisters for fun or as a challenge, but they actually have an important benefit. They can help improve pronunciation skills.
How are they able to do this? The answer is that tongue twisters expose you to different sounds and language elements in English. Below are 22 tongue twisters that will help you practice your pronunciation and introduce you to some basic but essential sounds commonly found in English.
The first concept that tongue twisters teach is alliteration. This is when multiple words begin with the same consonant sound. Sentences with a lot of alliteration are difficult to say because you are repeating the same sounds over and over. Here are some tongue twisters to help improve pronunciation skills.
Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers.
A peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper picked
If Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers
Where’s the peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper picked?
How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?
A woodchuck would chuck how much a woodchuck would chuck if a woodchuck would chuck wood.
Nine nice night nurses nursing nicely.
Betty Botter bought some butter.
But she said the butter’s bitter.
If I put it in my batter, it will make my batter bitter
But a bit of better butter will make my batter better
So ‘twas better Betty Botter bought a bit of better butter.
Tom threw Tim three thumbtacks
Wayne went to Wales to watch walruses.
The next concept is rhyme. In this language element, the ending sounds of the words are the same (cat / bat / hat). Rhyme is used everywhere in English, such as in songs, poems, and children’s books. To improve pronunciation skills, practice these rhyming tongue twisters.
Fuzzy Wuzzy was a bear. Fuzzy Wuzzy had no hair. Fuzzy Wuzzy wasn’t fuzzy, was he?
I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream.
I have got a date at a quarter to eight; I’ll see you at the gate, so don’t be late.
How many boards could the Mongols hoard if the Mongol hordes got bored?
Denise sees the fleece, Denise sees the fleas. At least Denise could sneeze and feed and freeze the fleas.
A skunk sat on a stump and thunk the stump stunk, but the stump thunk the skunk stunk.
Digraphs are when two letters go together, but are pronounced as one sound. The word “English” is a perfect example; the sh at the end of the word makes only one sound (Engli-sh). Other common examples of digraphs are ch, th, wh, and many more. Repeat the tongue twisters below to improve pronunciation skills and get some practice saying these digraphs.
She sells seashells by the seashore The seashells she sells are seashells she is sure.
If a dog chews shoes, whose shoes does he choose?
I thought I thought of thinking of thanking you.
Susie works in a shoeshine shop. Where she shines she sits, and where she sits she shines.
Tom threw Tim three thumbtacks.
Blends are similar to digraphs, but are slightly different. In blends, two letters go together, but make two separate sounds. “Snake” has a blend at the beginning. The s and n make their own distinct sound (sa–na-ake). Although they are alike, knowing how to pronounce the differences between blends and digraphs is important for improving pronunciation skills. Try these out below!
How can a clam cram in a clean cream can?
The big black bug bit the big black bear,
but the big black bear bit the big black bug back!
Green glass globes glow greenly.
Double bubble gum, bubbles double.
Through three cheese trees three free fleas flew.
While these fleas flew, freezy breeze blew.
Freezy breeze made these three trees freeze.
Freezy trees made these trees’ cheese freeze.
That’s what made these three free fleas sneeze
As you go through these tongue twisters, you might have noticed that some of the concepts overlap. This is because they appear everywhere in English! Learning these different sounds and elements of language is crucial for being able to speak and pronounce English properly.
Tongue twisters are a fun way to practice English, while also learning about its many different sounds and concepts. Start by saying these tongue twisters slowly and, as you improve pronunciation skills, begin to say them faster. This can be done on your own or with an English speaking partner. If you do not have an English speaking partner to practice with, you can find one at Spoken English Practice.
The source for some of these tongue twisters is uebersetzung.at.