Most letters in English
do not have just one sound. T
and Double T (TT) are pronounced in three different ways. The letter T can also be silent. How do you pronounce these? In this lesson, you
will learn rules to help you
pronounce the T and TT
sounds in American English.
sound like a native speaker, it is important to know that there are a
few different ways to make the T sound in English. In this lesson, we
studied the true T and D
and D sounds.
The true T sound (also known as hard T) is found in words such as top, hat, late, and toy. (The true T sound is simply the regular T sound.) T and Double T (TT) can also be
pronounced as a D
sound and a glottal stop (the sound you hear in the middle of
The true T sound is simply the regular T sound heard in words like top and it.
You make the True T
sound when T or Double T (TT) is at the beginning of a word or at the
a stressed syllable in a word.
A syllable is a word or part of a word that contains a single vowel sound.
word = 1 syllable
English = 2 syllables (En-glish)
beginning = 3 syllable (be-gin-ning)
A stressed syllable is the part of a word that is pronounced slightly louder and longer than the rest of the word. Use a dictionary to find the stressed syllable.
You also make the true T
sound when the T sound is part of a consonant cluster. A consonant cluster is a group of consonants without a vowel.
A consonant is any letter in the alphabet except the vowels.
English vowels are a, e, i, o, and u.
Consonant clusters at the
beginning of a word
clusters at the end
of a word or syllable
In the past tense, D sounds like T
In the English past tense, D is pronounced like T when it is after an unvoiced consonant sound (f, p, s, k, th, sh, ch,
but not T). Unvoiced or voiceless consonant sounds are sounds that
are not made with the vocal cords. Instead, they are made using a puff
jumped = jumpt
washed = washt
laughed = laft
placed = placet
locked = lokt
watched = wacht
unearthed = unertht
Rule 2: The D sound
Sometimes T and TT are
pronounced as a D sound. You can review the D sound here: T
and D Sounds.
When T or TT comes between two
vowel sounds or diphthong
sounds, pronounce T or TT as D.
daughter = daugh-der
computer = com-pu-der
settle = se-dle
bottle = bo-dle
water = wa-der
heater = hea-der
letter = le-der
T and TT can
also be pronounced
as a D when the T sound comes at the end of a word and the
next word starts with a vowel sound (a, e, i, o, u).
Example: Whata good idea.
Many native speakers link the two words together ("What" and "a") and
make a D
sound instead of a true
What? = true T
What a good idea.
= D sound
(Whad-a good idea.)
Put = true T
it = true T
Put it away! = D sound
The use of the D
or true T sounds can vary from person to person and by region.
Native speakers do not usually study these rules. It is just their
natural way of speaking. You will find exceptions to every rule!
Rule 3: The glottal stop
glottal stop (or stop consonant) is made when the flow of air through
your mouth is stopped by either your tongue or your lips. This causes a
build-up of air. When the air is released, it makes a small, explosive
("Glottal" means produced by the glottis. And a glottis is the vocal cords in your throat and the opening between them.)
T sound is pronounced as a glottal
stop when it is between a vowel sound,
n sound, or r
sound and followed by an n,
m, or l
vowel, N, R sound
==>> T or TT ==>> N, M, L sound
Rule 4: Silent T
Sometimes a T is silent. This means that you do not pronounce the T in these words. There are no real rules for these
Some words are just pronounced with a silent T by most native
speakers. Some of these words are borrowed from other languages and the
T is not pronounced (ballet => French).
The T is silent in these words:
Some words are pronounced with a silent
T by native speakers when they
are speaking fast. The use of a silent
T can also sometimes depend on accent and
region (where somebody lives).
Have you finished this lesson? Don't worry if you don't get it all right the first time. Review and practice!
Here is an example practice. Read the following dialogue aloud: