How To Pronounce the Most Common Numbers in English

This tip is about how to pronounce the most common numbers in English. Why is this important? Because very often, you’re asked to give your phone number, or your address, or a password, or anything that requires numbers.

If you make one pronunciation error, the person listening either won’t understand or will write down the wrong number, and this can become very frustrating.  Here are some tips to memorize the right way to pronounce numbers.

First, the number ‘one’ — at the end of that word has to be pronounced with your tongue tip pressed against the ridge behind your top teeth. The number ‘three’ also has a tricky sound, ‘th’. Put your tongue between the teeth and blow air out.

Now the ‘r’ at the end of ‘four’ is tricky because it often is left out or people who speak different languages may just drop that ‘r’ at the end of the word ‘four’. On the ‘r’, your tongue tip is curled back and you hold it there until you hear yourself make the right sound. Now, the number ‘five’ –the word ending ‘v’ on ‘five’ is also a difficult one. Make sure that you bite your lower lip, use your voice and blow air out. 

For ‘seven’, pronounce the ‘v’ and the ‘n’ in the same way you pronounce those sounds in the words ‘one’ and ‘five’. Here’s another tip on the word ‘seven’. It’s two syllables. You only stress the first one, the ‘sev-‘, and then you shrink the second syllable.

Next, watch out for the ‘t’ at the end of eight. It has to be loud. Again, for ‘nine’, make the ‘n’ at the end of ‘nine’ with your tongue tip pressed against the ridge behind your top teeth. The same tip is used for the word ‘ten’, and ‘eleven’.

Now how about ‘twelve’?  ‘Twelve’ has a ‘w‘ and a ‘v’ in it. You have to make sure that you say them correctly so that other people can hear the difference between the two sounds.

The number ‘thirteen’ — there’s that ‘th’ and ‘r’ again. ‘Thirteen’, ‘fourteen’, and ‘fifteen’ have ‘n’ at the end of them and so you have to pronounce the ‘n’ strongly. Also, let’s look at ‘fifteen’, ‘sixteen’, ‘seventeen’. All of those words have consonant clusters, which means there are two or three consonant sounds right beside each other in the middle of the word. The tip here is that you have to pronounce every single one of them.

If we look at the word — if we listen to the word ‘fifteen’, in the middle there’s ‘f’ and‘t’ and you have to say both of them, ‘fifteen’. In ‘sixteen’ there’s the ‘x’ sound. Did you know that ‘x’ sounds like ‘k’ and ‘s’ together? Then there’s the ‘t’. ‘kst’. Each one of them has to be clear.

Next, there are three ‘n’s in the word ‘nineteen’ and they’re all pronounced strongly with the tongue tip.  Now the number ‘twenty’ — watch out for the ‘w’ in ‘twenty’. Round your lips to get the ‘w’ sound. There is also a consonant cluster in the middle ‘nt’ and ‘y’ at the end. ‘y’ at the end of a word sounds like ‘ee’ most of the time.

When you get into longer numbers like ‘thirty-four’, or ‘thirty-fours’, ‘forty-five’, or ‘seventy-three’, you can see by looking at the spelling or by watching other people’s mouths that there are many of the sounds that I just described to you and the tip here is to make sure that you are pronouncing each consonant sound correctly and that you don’t leave any out. Good luck!


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