Schwa Sound
ə (the, about)

English Pronunciation, Lesson 08

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The Schwa sound (IPA symbol: ə) is a short and weak vowel sound. You can hardly hear it, actually.

Click Here for Step-by-Step Rules, Stories and Exercises to Practice All English Tenses

Click Here for Step-by-Step Rules, Stories and Exercises to Practice All Tenses

The Schwa Sound
This sound can be found in English words such as: 
a, the, about, around, present, banana, father, system.

It is actually one of the most common sounds in English!

It is so common that it even got itself a name – Schwa.

The word "schwa" comes from the Hebrew word Shewa, which means: 
"a mark indicating lack of a vowel sound".

Watch the following video to learn how to pronounce this sound correctly:

Have you watched it? Good! Let's practice...

Say these words out loud (the Schwa sound is bold):

1) a

2) the

3) about

4) around

5) present

6) father

7) banana

8) carrot

9) atlas

10) illness

11) offend

12) answer

13) letter

14) alone

15) sofa

16) system

17) supply

18) circus

Now say these sentences out loud (
the Schwa sound is bold):

1) I have a carrot and a banana.

2) The atlas contains a lot of maps.

3) He talked about his illness.

4) I will answer this letter.

5) Father went around the apartment.

7) The company will supply the telephones.

8) I was sitting alone on the sofa.

9) The performance in the circus was amazing.

10) He suggested a system.

Have you finished them all? Cool! 

Well done! You have completed the Schwa sound lesson.

Let's move on...

Your next lesson: Lesson 09, UR Sound (turn, learn)

List of Lessons

Lesson 01: International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA)

Lesson 02: Word Stress and Syllables

Lesson 03: Long E sound (meet, see)

Lesson 04: Short I Sound (sit, hit)

Lesson 05: UH Sound (put, foot)

Lesson 06: OO Sound (moon, blue)

Lesson 07: Short E sound (pen, bed)

Lesson 08: Schwa Sound (the, about)

Lesson 09: UR Sound (turn, learn)

Lesson 10: OH Sound (four, store)

Lesson 11: Short A Sound (cat, fat)

Lesson 12: UH Sound (but, luck)

Lesson 13: Soft A Sound (arm, father)

Lesson 14: Long O Sound (boat, know)

Lesson 15: Long A Sound (say, pain, make)

Lesson 16: Short O Sound (not, off, socks)

Lesson 17: Diphthong (a combination of two vowel sounds)

Lesson 18: P Sound (cup, punch, pull) and B sound (cub, bunch, bull)

Lesson 19: The Nasal Sounds (M, N, NG)

Lesson 20: F Sound (four, lift, graph, tough) and V Sound (love, knives, grave, vine)

Lesson 21: W Sound (wow, quit, where)

Lesson 22: R Sound (red, sorry, write)

Lesson 23: H Sound (he, behind, who)

Lesson 24: T Sound (top, it, later) and D Sound (do, had, made)

Lesson 25: S Sound (sit, box, cats) and Z Sound (zip, buzz, boys)

Lesson 26: K Sound (kid, talk, black) and G Sound (go, big, dog)

Lesson 27: L Sound: Light L & Dark L (tall, like, English)

Lesson 28: Y Consonant Sound (yes, you, beyond)

Lesson 29: CH Sound (China, century, watch) and J Sound (Germany, educate , judge)

Lesson 30: TH Consonant Sounds – voiced TH sound (the, father, them) and voiceless (unvoiced) TH sound (think, birthday, south)

Lesson 31: SH (shop, chef, special) and ZH (usual, massage, Asia)

Lesson 32: T and TT Sounds (true T sound, D sound, stop sound, silent T)

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