How to Pronounce 4 Commonly Mispronounced Words in British English

Here are four commonly mispronounced words in British English:

We’re often asked how to pronounce these words properly with a British accent, so we thought we’d let you know once and for all.

1. iron /aɪən/

Meaning: This refers both to the metal and the action of ironing clothes. 

As you can hear with a standard British accent, it’s not pronounced as it looks. 

Firstly, the /r/ isn’t said at all. 

The first syllable is the stressed syllable ‘i’, and the ‘o’ becomes a schwa vowel ’u’ and is the de-stressed syllable. 

In a sentence: My iron doesn’t have any iron in it.


2. receipt /rɪˈsiːt/

Another word that isn’t said is how it looks. 

The /re/ says /ri/ and in the second syllable the ‘ei’ says the long ‘ee’. 

The second syllable is the main stressed syllable. 

The special trick in this word is that the /p/ is silent. Do not say the /p/.

So, in British English, it’s said, /riseet/.

In a sentence: Do you want a receipt?


3. boss /bɒs/

This word is actually said as it is spelled, but the ‘o’ has to be a British ‘o’, not an ‘or’ sound. 

Say the ‘o’ vowel twice as in /hot/.

Don’t put your lips forward for the ‘o’. 

In a sentence with lots of ‘o’ sounds: My boss was cross because he lost his sock.  


4. environment /ɪnˈvaɪ.rən.mənt/

The main stressed syllable is /vi/ so it’s said the longest. 

The main tricky part is to hold the /n/ on slightly longer while you get your mouth ready for the /m/. 

Don’t forget that the ‘o’ is said as a schwa, short ‘u’. Not /ron/ but /rən/.

In a sentence: I prefer to work in a quiet environment.


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For more pronunciation tips, check out this video lesson on the main tips to speak with a British accent.


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