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How to Pronounce “the” in English – “thee’ or “thuh”

The is a lot of confusion over the pronunciation of the definite article ‘the’ . Normally, we pronounce “the” with a short sound (like “thuh”). But if “the” comes before a vowel or a vowel sound, we pronounce it as a long “thee”.

vowel sound

we write

we say


the apple

thee apple


the egg

thee egg


the ice-cream

thee ice-cream


the orange

thee orange


the umbrella

thee umbrella

Note it is very important to understand that what we write is different from what we say, that’s why English is a strange language. It is the sound we produce that matters and not the letter or alphabet used in writing. So we use a long “thee” before a vowel or vowel sound. Look at words below :

we write


we say


the house

consonant (h)

thuh house

consonant sound

the hour

consonant (h)

thee our

vowel sound

the university

vowel (u)

thuh youniversity

consonant sound

the umbrella

vowel (u)

thee umbrella

vowel sound

Emphatic the [thee]

When we wish to place importance or emphasis  on a particular thing or a word, we can use “emphatic the” [thee], whether or not the word begins with a consonant or vowel sound. For example:

A: I went  the [thuh] United States last month on a vacation.
B: What! The [thee] United States?
A: Yes, exactly.

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4 thoughts on “How to Pronounce “the” in English – “thee’ or “thuh””

  1. Anand Raz says:

    excellent, so much helpful..

  2. fouadkacm says:

    thank you very much teacher, your teaching manner is very intersting.

  3. iamnageswara says:

    excellent mam

  4. says:

    Thank you for that, and good night!

Comments are closed.

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