Pronunciation is a VERY tricky thing.

It takes a lot of time, patience and persistence to change your pronunciation BUT if you want to get a HIGH score on the TOEFL Speaking section, then you MUST learn how to pronounce certain words correctly.

There are three ways to analyze your pronunciation:

  • By yourself
  • With a native-speaking friend
  • With a teacher

If a high TOEFL speaking score is an absolute requirement, then I recommend finding a private tutor. If you are only aiming for 20-24, then you might be OK with just analyzing yourself.

Now I want to tell you what four groups of words to MASTER to make sure you get the most out of your pronunciation:

1. Is/If/It

Why master it?

These are three of the most common words you will use on TOEFL Speaking. By mastering the pronunciation of these words, you will also master the pronunciation of the short ‘I’ sound, a very common mistake for most TOEFL speakers.

To correct it, watch this video:

2. Were

Remember, ‘were’ is the past tense form of the verb ‘to be’.

It is NOT the word ‘where’.

Test takers confuse these two words quite often.

If you say the word ‘were’ make sure you pronounce it correctly. Do not say ‘Where.’

3. Person

Even though this is the same sound as her, professor, and research, I separated it because it is pronounced incorrectly more often.

You also say this in every question type so it is super important that you pronounce it correctly.

The most common mistake is to pronounce it as ‘Pairson’. If you think you struggle with this sound, record yourself and listen to how you pronounce ‘person’.

The other common mistake is to say ‘Persons’ instead of ‘People’. Remember, you are not supposed to say ‘s’ at the end of person!

Here is a video to help you:

FOR Specific Language Groups (like Brazilians and Arabs):

4. Words Ending in ‘ED’

Be very careful about how you pronounce words ending in ‘ed’.

It is super common for Brazilians to mispronounce words ending in ‘ed’.

If you’re Brazilian and you don’t know if you pronounce these words correctly, I recommend recording your response to determine if you are pronouncing them correctly.

To learn how to pronounce these words correctly, watch this video:

And those are the four groups of words you MUST master in order to do well on the TOEFL.

Do you have know of any other important words for pronunciation that I missed? Leave a comment below!

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