How to Pronounce “TH” Properly in English

Do you want to be able to pronounce the English Th sound clearly? It is completely normal as an English learner to struggle with the Th sound. There are two different TH sounds: the voiceless Th, and the voiced Th. A lot of people will try to say these sounds by replacing them with sounds they have in their own language. If you want to master this sound, watch the video below to hear Gabby explain how to pronounce “TH” properly in English.

When making a voiceless Th sound there is no vibration in the vocal cords because all the sounds are made at the front of the mouth with the tongue between the lips. Just the mouth is working. The sound is made by lightly blowing out against teeth and tongue. If you want to see if your tongue is in the right place hold your finger up and down across your lips (like you are saying shhh!). Make the front of your tongue have light contact with the with the back of your finger. Relax the back of your tongue and keep it low and flat. Blow out and let the air pass through your teeth and tongue. Don’t use your vocal cords.

Practice these words: Theatre, thief, worthwhile, thunderstorm, mouth, teeth, bath, three, worthwhile, thank, nothing, myth, thin, Thursday, underneath, Ethiopia, broth.

Quick tip: Practice by being exaggerated until the sound becomes easier to pronounce.

The Voiced Th Sound

When making a voiced Th sound there is a vibration in the throat because vocal cords are in action. Additionally, there is a slight buzz sound carried through the sound. So be sure to make the voiced Th sound with your tongue held lightly between your teeth, blow air out, and engage your vocal cords.

Practice these words: Then, than, those, worthy, Mother, Father, farther, northern, nevertheless, breathe.

Quick tip: Feel your throat across your voice box to make sure it is in action.

Minimal Pairs to Practice

Voiceless Th sound: tanks/thanks, torn/thorn, tick/thick, boat/both

Voiced Th sound: ten/then, tease/these, toes/those, tan/than

Watch Gabby now as she explains how to pronounce “TH” properly in English!

For more videos: Go Natural English YT

Picture of Gabby Wallace, M.Ed TESOL

Gabby Wallace, M.Ed TESOL

About the Author
Gabby Wallace is the Founder of Go Natural English, where you can quickly improve your confidence speaking English through advanced fluency practice. Even if you don't have much time, this is the best place for improving your English skills. Millions of global intermediate - advanced English students are learning with Gabby's inspiring, clear, and energetic English lessons. Gabby has a Masters Degree in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages from Boston University and 20+ years experience helping students become fluent through her online courses and membership program.

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