How to Pronounce the TH Sound in English


One of the most difficult parts of pronunciation for my German students is making the TH sound in English. In German, TH is pronounced like T, so having the softer H sound on the end can make pronunciation difficult.
Words like "the," "there," and "those," can come out sounding like "duh," "der," and "dose."
This is a very common sound in English, so it is important to learn if your goal is to sound more like a native speaker. Here you will find how to pronounce the TH sound in English (be warned, there are two different ways it can be pronounced!), as well as some ways to practice it on your own.
TH - Voiced Dental Fricative (/ð/)
This TH sound is soft, and is produced by placing the tip of your tongue between your teeth, and vibrating your vocal cords. This sound is a little bit "buzzy" like a bee or a fly.
Practice putting your tongue between your teeth and making a buzzing sound, and you're well on your way to pronouncing this sound correctly! When practicing pronunciation, it is more than ok to exaggerate a little, as it will help you to make the correct sound.
Here are some words with the voiced dental fricative TH:
- than
- then
- this
- other
- this
- weather
If you don't make this sound correctly, it can come out sounding like a Z or a D.
TH - Voiceless Dental Fricative (/θ/)
Much as the name implies, you don't use your vocal cords for this TH. You make it in almost the same way as the voiced dental fricative, but without vibrating your vocal cords.
Place the tip of your tongue between your teeth, and just blow air through your mouth. So instead of making the buzzing sound with your vocal cords, this TH will sound a little bit more like an F.
Here are some words with the voiceless dental fricative TH:
- thank
- think
- moth
- path
- youth


18 pt
18 pt



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If you don't make this sound correctly, it can come out sounding like a S or a T.
Practice Tips
Practicing your pronunciation in class can be stressful, especially if there are multiple people in your class. If this is the case, don't be afraid to practice at home on your own! Take each word with a TH sound very slowly, so that you can feel the difference between the two pronunciations. Once you feel you have mastered pronouncing it slowly, you can begin to speed up. Soon you'll be the master of the TH sound!
Another trick is to place your tongue between your teeth, place a finger in front of your mouth, and blow air through your mouth. You should be able to feel the air hit your finger. If you can, then you're doing it right.
Try these tips at home for practicing the TH sound in English, and if you need extra help with your pronunciation, don't forget to sign up for lessons with YES - Your English School!