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How to sound more natural when you speak English (Part 2)

CLASS TWO ~ ELOCUTION The following exercises have been around for a very long time. I cannot claim authorship of them nor can I find the author of them. I believe these documents have been in the public domain for so long now that authorship is a collective group by now. I strongly recommend that you use these next few sentences as a warm-up before speaking in front of an audience.

The following list of sentences contains every sound of the English language. I use these sentences to teach my students to articulate with precision. Take your time to say these sentences clearly and accurately. You will feel your cheeks and jaw working overtime. All of us need to keep these muscles agile in order to speak clearly; we need to keep moving the organs of articulation (tongue, cheeks, lips, soft palate, glottis) so that we speak clearly and are heard by everyone in the room.

  • Eat each green pea.

  • Aim straight at the game.

  • Ed said get ready.

  • It is in Italy.

  • I tried my kite.

  • Oaks grow slowly.

  • Father was calm as he threw the bomb on the dock.

  • An awed audience applauded Claude.

  • Go slow Joe; you’re stepping on my toe.

  • Sauce makes the goose more succulent.

  • Up the bluff, Bud runs with the cup of love.

  • Red led men to the heifer that fell in the dell.

  • Maimed animals may become mean.

  • It’s time to buy a nice limeade for a dime.

  • Oil soils doilies.

  • Flip a coin, Roy; you have a choice of oysters or poi.

  • Sheep shears should be sharp.

  • At her leisure, she used rouge to camouflage her features.

  • There’s your cue, the curfew is due.

  • It was the student’s duty to deliver the Tuesday newspaper.

  • He feels keen as he schemes and dreams.

  • Much of the flood comes under the hutch.

  • Boots and shoes lose newness soon.

  • Ruth was rude to the youthful recruit.

  • Vivid, livid, vivifying. Vivid experiences were lived vicariously.

  • The pod will rot if left on the rock.

  • Look, you could put your foot on the hood and push.

  • Nat nailed the new sign on the door of the diner.

  • Dale’s dad died in the stampede for gold.

  • Thoughtful thinkers think things through.

  • Engineer Ethelbert wrecked the express at the end of Elm Street.

Tongue Twisters In the previous set of sentences you were encouraged to focus on accuracy and clarity. We use Tongue Twisters to help us learn to articulate accurately but also quickly. They are called tongue twisters because when you first start to practice them, your tongue does feel like it is twisted into knots.

For many foreign or International speakers of English, these exercises are excellent for training the tongue to articulate and then get out of the way for the next sound. Time yourself doing these 26 sentences. Can you eventually get them uttered clearly in less than 60 seconds? Try it and keep going until you get there.

  • A big blue bucket of blue blueberries.

  • Grey geese grazing grain.

  • A cup of coffee in a copper coffee pot.

  • Double bubble gum bubbles double.

  • I never smelled a smelt that smelled as bad as that smelt smelled.

  • Nine nimble noblemen nibble nuts.

  • Barbara burned the brown bread badly.

  • A box of biscuits, a box of mixed biscuits, and a biscuit mixer.

  • Richard gave Robin a rap in the ribs for roasting his rabbit so rare.

  • Lemon liniment. Lemon liniment. Lemon liniment.

  • Quinn’s twin sisters sing tongue twisters.

  • Six silly sisters sell silk to six sickly seniors.

  • Old oily Ollie oils oily autos.

  • She sells seashells by the seashore.

  • Round and round the rugged rock the ragged rascal ran.

  • Rubber baby buggy bumpers.

  • Which wristwatches are Swiss wristwatches?

  • Tim, the thin twin tinsmith.

  • Lotty licks lollies lolling in the lobby.

  • A shy little she said, “Shoo!” to a fly and a flea in a flue.

  • Fat dogs frying fritters and fiddling ferociously.

  • Slippery seals slipping silently ashore.

  • Sickly chicks. Sickly chicks. Sickly chicks.

  • Silent snakes slithering slowly southward.

  • The rat ran by the river with a lump of raw liver.

  • Peggy Babcock. Peggy Babcock. Peggy Babcock. Peggy Babcock. Peggy Babcock.

You are athletes in training when you do clear elocution/articulation work like this. So are Native speakers of English: we have to keep our “chops” in good shape. Make sure you’re having fun doing these exercises. Studies show that adults learn best when they are laughing, moving, and having fun.

So go at it! Have some fun. Laugh. A lot – laughing clears the throat!

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