There’s so much confusion surrounding how to pronounce the word ‘the’ correctly.
Some of you pronounce it as ‘thuh’ every time. And some of you pronounce it as ‘thee’ every time.
This might shock you but they’re both wrong.
In the previous post How To Use ‘A’ and ‘An’ Correctly, I explained that we use ‘a’ for words that begin with a consonant sound, and we use ‘an’ for words that begin with a vowel sound.
You should apply the same rule when pronouncing ‘the’.
So if a word begins with any of the consonant sounds, you should pronounce ‘the’ as ‘thuh’.
A bat = the bat = thuh bat
A dog = the dog = thuh dog
A table = the table = thuh table
A yoga teacher = the yoga teacher = thuh yoga teacher
Similarly if a word begins with any of the vowel sounds, you should pronounce ‘the’ as ‘thee’.
An apple = the apple = thee apple
An elephant = the elephant = thee elephant
An iron rod = the iron rod = thee iron rod
An officer = the officer = thee officer
Again, we have two exceptions:
1. Some words that begin with a vowel have a consonant sound.
A one-bedroom apartment = thuh one-bedroom apartment
A European = thuh European
A university = thuh university
A used car = thuh used car
2. Some words that begin with a consonant have a vowel sound.
An hour = thee hour
An honor = thee honor
An honest driver = thee honest driver
An honorable mention = thee honorable mention
Again, you should pronounce ‘the’ as ‘thuh’ if the word begins with a consonant sound, and you should pronounce ‘the’ as ‘thee’ if the word begins with a vowel sound.
Want to speak English fluently? Get The Fluency Guide today.