Phonetic alphabet - examples of sounds

Be more confident

View our courses

The International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) is a system where each symbol is associated with a particular English sound. By using IPA you can know exactly how to pronounce a certain word in English. This helps in improving English pronunciation and feeling more confident speaking in English, whether you learn English on you own or with a specialist teacher in an individual English Accent Training class. We also run online English courses in virtual groups, and immersion courses in London.

Here are examples of IPA use in common English words. You can practice various vowel and consonant sounds by pronouncing the words. This is one way how you can improve English pronunciation.

Download examples of IPA sounds (PDF) 

International Phonetic Alphabet Sounds In Everyday Speech       

Short Vowels

IPA SymbolWord examples
eWent, intend, send, letter.
æCat, hand, nap, flat, have.
ʌFun, love, money, one, London, come.
ʊPut, look, should, cook, book, look.
ɒRob, top, watch, squat, sausage.
əAlive, again, mother.

Long Vowels

IPA SymbolWord examples
i:Need, beat, team.
ɜ:Nurse, heard, third, turn.
ɔ:Talk, law, bored, yawn, jaw.
u:Few, boot, lose, gloomy, fruit, chew.
ɑ: Fast, car, hard, bath.

Diphthong Vowels

IPA SymbolWord examples
ɪəNear, ear, clear, tear, beer, fear
Hair, there, care, stairs, pear
Face, space, rain , case, eight
ɔɪJoy, employ, toy, coil, oyster.
My, sight, pride, kind, flight
əʊNo, don’t, stones, alone, hole
Mouth, house, brown, cow, out

Consonants Sounds: Fricatives

IPA SymbolWord examples
fFull, Friday, fish, knife.
vVest, village, view, cave.
θThought, think, Bath. 
ð There, those, brothers, others.
zZoo, crazy, lazy, zigzag, nose.
ʃShirt, rush, shop, cash.
ʒTelevision, delusion, casual
hHigh, help, hello.

Consonants Sounds: Plosives

IPA SymbolWord examples
pPin, cap, purpose, pause.
bBag, bubble, build, robe.
tTime, train, tow, late.
dDoor, day, drive, down, feed.
kCash, quick, cricket, sock.
gGirl, green, grass, flag.

Consonants Sounds: Affricates

IPA SymbolWord examples
ʈʃChoose, cheese, church, watch.
Joy, juggle, juice, stage.

Consonants Sounds: Nasals

IPA SymbolWord examples
mRoom, mother, mad, more.
nNow, nobody, knew, turn.
ŋKing, thing, song, swimming.

Consonants Sounds: Approximants

IPA SymbolWord examples
rRoad, roses, river, ring, ride.
jYellow, usual, tune, yesterday, yard.
wWall, walk, wine, world.
l and ɫLaw, lots, leap, long, pill, cold, chill, melt.

We can help you speak English more clearly and confidently:

Have a look below at our video with one of our trainers:

All articles Next article

Post your questions and comments:

Why study at The London School of English?

  • Rated “Excellent” based on over 1300 independent client reviews
  • Over 100 years’ experience
  • Tailored training delivers clear results
  • Memorable experiences in London and online
Find out more