Diphthongs in English

One of the most difficult parts of learning English is definitely the pronunciation, especially for those learning English as a second language. This is partly because many school programs are very focused on grammar and leave communication aside. If you think about the fact that there are 44 different sounds in English and about 1100 ways to write them, you will understand why you cannot rely simply on your intuition.

It is essential to practice your listening skills to accustom your ear to the language as well as to memorize the correct pronunciation of the words. In many cases, in fact, the only way of knowing the pronunciation of a word is to either listen to it or to read its phonetic transcription in the dictionary. That said, we do not want to frighten you! The rules are there, even if they are not always applicable and there are many exceptions.

Way, /wei/

This is the best way to follow.

To say, /to sei/

There were so many things to say.

Main, /mein/

This is the main road.

Lane, /lein/

I live on Green Lane.

Face, /feis/

Clean your face very well before applying the cream.

Day, /dei/

The day of my exam is drawing near.


Here, /hɪə/

My wallet is here.

Near, /nɪə/

The station is near the supermarket.

Fear, /fɪə /

I fear being late for the appointment.

Square, /skweə/

The square was packed with people.

Fair, /feə/

It is not fair!

Various, /ˈveəriəs/

There are various ways of solving this problem.

There, /ðeə(r)/

Wait there until I get back.

Air, /eə(r)/

This car pollutes the air.


Tour, /tʊə/

We went on a 15-day tour of North Africa.

Cure, /kjʊə/

There’s no cure for diabetes.


Choice, /ʧɔɪs/

The students have a choice between studying Chinese or Japanese.

Noise, /nɔɪz /

The customers said that there was too much noise in the restaurant.

Boy, /bɔɪ/

I’d been there for my holidays when I was a little boy.

Boiler, /ˈbɔɪlə/

The boiler is broken.

Price /praɪs/

We can expect further increases in the price of fuel.

High /haɪ/

The fence is too high to climb over.

To try /to traɪ/

It does not cost you anything to try.

Eye /aɪ/

I contracted a nasty eye infection.

Mouth /maʊθ/

He opened his mouth to speak.

Now /naʊ/

The meeting should have finished by now.

Fowl /faʊl/

In that market, they sell fowl.


Goat /gəʊt/

A goat is a ruminant animal.

To show /ʃəʊ/

The study shows an increase in the disease.

No /nəʊ/

She’s no taller than her sister.

With a little practice, you will not find it difficult to pronounce the diphthongs in English correctly. It is also true that there are many exceptions and that you can never have enough practice. If you are thinking of attending an English course, try ABA English. They offer 144 video classes and a good quantity of short films that will help you to improve your pronunciation. What are you waiting for? Watch one of our videos today!

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