How to pronounce ‘R’ in British English


Hello, I'm Gill at and today's lesson is on the pronunciation of the letter

R, okay?

So, this is in British English pronunciation.

In American and Canadian English, it's sometimes a little different, where the R is pronounced

in American and Canadian, where it's not pronounced in British English in the UK.

So, I'm showing here the British English pronunciations and I'll mention, when we come it, where it's

different from American and Canadian, okay?

So, this is sometimes confusing for people because sometimes, the R is sounded, so "ruh

ruh ruh" like that.

Other times, it's completely silent and you just get a vowel sound instead, okay?

So, I've put several examples here to illustrate the different variations.

So, first of all, this section here above the line are all the words which are - the

R is pronounced, and below the line, where they're not pronounced, the R is not pronounced.

So, let's look at the top three first, where the R is pronounced.

So, right at the beginning of a word, so a word like: rain, red, run and also, you probably

know that sometimes there's a word beginning "WR" which is - you don't make the W sound,

you just make the R sound, so it's "rite", "rong", like that.

So, to make the R sound at the beginning of a word, you have to push your mouth forward:

ruh, ruh, ruh, like that.

So, that's how to make the "ruh" sound.

I know in some languages, the R sound is more at the back of the throat, but in English,

British English, it's right at the front of the mouth and you push your lips forward,

so it's rain and red and run, "rite", "rong", okay?

So, that's words beginning with R, the R is sounded.

Also, if the R is the second letter of a word, following a consonant, okay?

So, with a B: bread, bread.

And with a D:

drink, and with an F: from, with a G: green, and with a P: prize.

Okay, and there are other consonants as well, these are just a few examples.

So, the R has to be pronounced there in combination with the first letter, the consonant sound.

So, bread, drink, from, green, and prize.


And it's still at the front of the mouth, pushing your lips forward, okay?


And then, you can see the letter R is moving through the word, it's the beginning, then

it's the second letter, and now it's more into the middle of the word.

So, with a word like "current", current, it's spelled sometimes double R, sometimes one

R, but it's the same sound, really.

So, current, the R falls on th second syllable: cu-rrent, cu-rrent, so the R is sounded there

and garage, garage, again it's the second syllable: ga-rage.

Sorry, sorry, second syllable again: so-rry.

And very, very, second syllable.

And worry, worry, wo-rry.

Second syllable, so that's where the R is in the middle and it's still sounded in the

same way for all of those three.


So, now let's move on to look at the ones, the words where the R is not sounded in British


And this is where it differs sometimes from American speakers and Canadian speakers.

I'll try to demonstrate that.

So, if it's in the middle of a word but the vowel sound is quite long sometimes, so with

bark, the sound that a dog makes, bark, an American person might say "bark, bark", but

a British person just says an "ah" sound, an open "ah" like this, ah, "bahk", and we

don't even try to do an R "ruh" sound, it's just "bahk", so you've got the B and then

an ah sound and then the K sound at the end.

So, this R is not pronounced, it's just in the spelling, but it's not pronounced, okay?

The same with this word: farm.

So, F and then "ah" and then M, no R, so an American might say "farm, farm", it feels

very strange for me to say it that way, but it's just, in British English, "fahm", just

open, an open vowel sound, "ah", "fahm" like like that, okay?

And then, with this one, garden, garden.

So, just the "ah" sound again.


And this one, mark, just "ah", M, "ah", and then K, "mahk", no R. This one: more.

So, with the "or", this is an "or", "or" vowel sound, it's a different vowel sound but it's

still a long vowel sound, not a short vowel sound.

"ah" and "or" are long vowel sounds.

So, "mor" and for "mor" "or, or", you, again, it's a bit like "ruh" but it's "or, or", so

you push your lips forward again to get the "or" sound.

"mor", but no R sound there, okay?

And then this one's similar: normal, normal, normal, okay?

And this one, we're back to "ah" again, park, "pahk", just an open "ah" and then the K:


And then this one, this is an "err" sound, vowel sound "err, err, err" like that, "err".

"Werrk, Werrk", "errk", so no "R", just the K sound at the end, "Werrk", okay?


And then finally, where the R comes at the end of a word, often words that end "er" and

"or" sometimes they're professions, like baker, banker, doctor, farmer, or other words like

mother, water.

So, it's just like "uh, uh, uh" at the end.

It's a bit like that, "uh" if you're asking somebody what's going on, "Uh, uh?" it's that

sort of sound.

So, baker, "uh, uh" "bakuh".

And "bankuh" and doctor, "uh, uh", "doctuh", and fa - we've got two here, haven't we?

We've got the "ah", the "fahm", "fahmuh", "fahmuh".

So, there are two R's in farmer and both of them are silent.

"fahmuh", okay?

Mother, "uh, uh, uh", "mothuh, mothuh", and water, "uh", like that, "watuh, watuh, watuh".


So, I hope that helps to clarify where the R is sounded and where it's silent.

So, that's the first half of the lesson, and now we're going to go on to the second part

with some sentences for you to practice on.

Okay, so let's have a look at some practice sentences, and see if you can decide which

words need to have the R sounded and which have the silent R. So, the first sentence,

if you'd like to look at that before I say it, okay?

So: The baker ran to wrap a loaf of bread.


So, I've underlined the R which is pronounced, bread, wrap, ran, but "baker" is just "uh,

uh, uh" at the end.

So, no R there.

The "bakuh" ran to wrap a loaf of bread.


Let's have a look at the next one, so try to say this before I say it, okay?

So: The bird "uh", "buhd", so no R there, that's a silent one, drank, that one is pronounced,

"watuh" "uh uh", so no sound there, from, that one's pronounced, the pond in the "gahden",

not pronounced.

So: The "buhd" drank "watuh" from the pond in the "gahden", okay?


Next one, try to say this before me.

Okay, so: We drove, that's pronounced, the car, just "ah", not pronounced, to the garage,

pronounced, for, "or, or, or", so that's not pronounced, repair, ah, so we've got "repah,

ah, ah", so that one isn't pronounced at the end.

That one is, that one isn't, so it's "repah" like that, open sound at the end, "repah",


We drove the "cah" to the garage "for repah", okay?

Next one, you first!

Okay, so: This cream, so that's pronounced, cake, nice cream cake, is a treat, pronounced,

- let's have some "mor"!

"Or, or, or", so not pronounced.

It's just an open "or" sound.

This cream cake is a treat - let's have some "mor"!


Next sentence, you first!

Okay, so: This orange, "ruh", so that's pronounced, orange drink is rather, so that one's pronounced,

that one isn't: "rathuh, rathuh, uh, uh" "bittuh", "uh", that one's not pronounced.

So: This orange drink is "rathuh" "bittuh", okay?

And finally, you first!

Okay, so: Green grass is "nohmally, nohmally, oh, oh, oh", so that's an open vowel sound,

no R, "nohmally" very, "ruh", very, pronounced, relaxing, pronounced, and restful, pronounced,


Green grass is "nohmally" very relaxing and restful.

Okay, so I hope that was fun and I hope that's helped you to work out when to pronounce the

R and when not to pronounce it, so if you'd like to go to the website , there's

a quiz there to test you on this one, so thank you for watching and hope to see you again


Bye for now!