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Serenity Carr, Assistant Editor
Two Pronunciations of 'The'
Friday March 9th 2018
Question
What are the different pronunciations of "the" and when do you use them? — Rajesh , United States
Answer

There are two ways to pronounce "the." One pronunciation sounds like /ðə/ ("thuh," rhymes with "duh") and the other sounds like /ði/ ("thee," rhymes with "free"). The pronunciation of the word "the" depends on the first sound of the word that comes after it.

When the word after "the" begins with a consonant sound, people usually use /ðə/. When the word after "the" begins with a vowel sound, people usually use /ði/. Below are examples of when to use each pronunciation.

 

In each of the below sentences, /ðə/ is usually used because the word after "the" begins with a consonant sound:

  • He liked the book very much.
  • The kids enjoyed the play.
  • Each of the six roses had bloomed.
  • They were the first people to arrive at the party.

 

In each of the below sentences, /ði/ is usually used because the word after "the" begins with a vowel sound:

  • She reached the end of Park Street and had to turn around.
  • The indecision of the employees made work difficult.
  • She just watched her favorite movie for the eighth time.
  • He drew the apple in a very realistic way.

 

I hope this helps. For more posts about words, idioms, grammar, and usage, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter!

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