I must say, I had never really appreciated how much of a minefield English pronunciation is, until someone sent me this poem! Give it a try!


The bough of a tree

The bough of a tree


I take it you already know

Of tough and bough and cough and dough?

Others may stumble, but not you,

On hiccough, thorough, lough and through?

Well done! And now you wish, perhaps,

To learn of less familiar traps?

Beware of heard, a dreadful word

That looks like beard and sounds like bird,

And dead – it’s said like bed, not bead.

For goodness sake don’t call it deed!

Watch out for meat and greet and threat

(They rhyme with suite and straight and debt).

A moth is not a moth in mother,

Nor both in bother, broth in brother,

And here is not a match for there

Nor dear and fear for bear and pear,

And then there’s dose and rose and lose –

Just look them up – and goose and choose,

And cork and work and card and ward,

And font and front and word and sword,

And do and go and thwart and cart –

Come, come, I’ve hardly made a start!

A dreadful language? Man alive!

I’d mastered it when I was five!

Photo credit: Colin-47 via photopin cc

Give me more!

Sick of pronunciation? Learn how to write a personal statement instead.

Learn a few nautical expressions.

British English or American English?