How Do You Pronounce ‘The’?

There are two ways to pronounce that essential and very common word, the. Despite the good intentions, those who say it should always go hand in hand I And tree Completely wrong. And those who say its pronunciation is related to verbs and nouns are also misinterpreted.

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Photo: ice cream sticks (which rhyme with ‘me’) that you deserve for reading good content.

Here’s the truth: the standard pronunciation of a word is related to what follows it. If the word that follows it begins with a consonant, it is pronounced \t͟hə\—that is, has the same vowel sound as the word belong to—and it is not emphasized:




one (note that although “o” is a vowel, the word one begins with a sound usually made by “w,” a consonant)

If the word that follows it begins with a vowel, the often pronounced \t͟hē\ (rhymes with I), but is also sometimes pronounced \t͟hə\, as above. Again, it’s not emphasized:




Sometimes the emphasized, such as for emphasis or before a long pause. In those cases, it is pronounced \t͟hē\:

just one and only

hip hop queen

Titanic ship

If you are a native English speaker, this information only confirms what you have heard and will likely do throughout your life. And as linguist Mark Liberman points out at Language diary (a group of blogs about all things language related), what we hear today is what our grandparents heard during their lives and their grandparents before them, in both languages. American and British English. And they must hear it when walking uphill, both ways, in the snow.

See more:  The Height of Mispronunciation—Or Not

Categories: Usage Notes

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