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50 Difficult Words to Pronounce

Recently we asked our EnglishClub Facebook fans, tweeters, and chatters to share the English words they find most difficult to pronounce. We posted the first 25 most difficult words along with audio practice right here on ESL Magazine.

Some of you loved the first 25 words and enjoyed practising these with us. A handful of you felt the words were not difficult enough. Many of you shared other words that you (or your students) find difficult.

Here are the first 25 words.

Here is the second batch (compiled based on comments from learners and teachers via EC, Facebook, and MyEC).

Let’s practise these words together:
1) Listen to the word. (wait for a one second pause after)
2) Say the word with me.
3) Say the sentence with me.

Are you ready?

26. gorgeous (allow a pause and then repeat with me)
The bride looked gorgeous on her wedding day.

27. thoroughly
I thoroughly enjoyed this week’s English class.

28. daughter
My daughter asked if she could have a friend over for a playdate.

29. challenge
I invite all English learners to take my monthly writing challenge.

30. enhance
You will enhance your vocabulary by reading the news.

31. variety
It is important to use sentence variety in your TOEFL essay.

32. influence
Celebrities influence how young people act and dress.

33. effect
The new company policy will take effect next month.

34. whistle
My grandfather taught me how to whistle when I was a child.

35. throughout
Racism has been a global issue throughout history.

36. adjective
What adjective would you use to describe EnglishClub.com?

37. island
Victoria is located on Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada.

38. appliance
The washing machine is one appliance that many people could not live without.

39. shrimp
Spaghetti with shrimp is a meal my husband often cooks for dinner.

40. refrigerator
Another appliance that is considered a necessity is the refrigerator.

41. scissors
Left handed people require a special type of scissors.

42. cough
During the flu season, the students are taught to cough in their sleeves.

43. though
I am getting hungry. I can wait a little longer for dinner, though.

44. through
Our friends are going through a difficult divorce.

45. praise
Offering generic praise like “good job” is not enough to motivate a child.

46. free
Do you agree that the best things in life are free?

47. trade
We want to trade our car in for a minivan.

48. vocabulary
Expand your vocabulary by reading blogs when you are online.

49. psychologist
A psychologist told me that I need to learn how to relax.

50.genuine
The collector said our piece was a genuine antique.

Pronunciation note: I have a Canadian accent. Though Canadian spelling usually sides with British English, Canadian pronunciation is closer to the American accent. Your teacher may have a different accent, such as a British or Australian one.

Thanks again to all of the readers of ESL Magazine who helped create this second list. Share your own difficult words in the comments below. Add an example sentence and we may use it in an upcoming audio post.

Written by Tara Benwell for EnglishClub.com | January 2010
Tara Benwell is a Canadian freelance writer and editor who specializes in materials and articles for the ELT industry.

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