Learn English Free
Learn English Pronunciation
How to Pronounce "The"
There are two ways to pronounce "the":-
The first and most common one is short, and sounds like "thuh"
It rhymes with "duh" and if you say "mother" it rhymes with the "mo" and the "ther".
As a general rule, we use the weak pronunciation with words that start with a consonant or words that begin with a vowel.
"The cat sat on the mat."
Some words begin with a vowel, but are pronounced as if they begin with a consonant.
For example: the word 'university' starts with a /j/ sound, which is a consonant. So we say, 'the university'. Another example is the word 'one' - 'the one that most learners will know'.
The second is longer and sounds like "thee":-
It rhymes with pea, fee, me.
We use the strong pronunciation with words that start with a vowel or sound as if they do.
"the apple" "the end" "the hour" 'the ice'
We also use the strong 'the' when we want to stress the word, regardless of whether it begins with a vowel or a consonant.
"I spoke to Kevin Costner the other day."
"Not the Kevin Costner! The one who starred in Robin Hood?"
"No, the one who works in the chip shop."