The American R sound

/The American R sound

The American R sound

One of the biggest differences between the British and the American accents is that Americans always pronounce the letter R. In England the words “load” and “lord” would sound very similar since the R tends to be silent before another consonant. It’s also silent at the end of a word in British English. If you first started studying English outside of the United States, chances are you are creating the British R. Take a look at this short video lesson that I just posted on YouTube yesterday. I think it will help you. I find that the majority of my students are not pronouncing this sound correctly when they first come to see me for accent reduction lessons.

By | 2017-01-24T23:22:15+00:00 April 2nd, 2009|Uncategorized|7 Comments

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  1. Alex April 8, 2009 at 5:24 pm

    Hello Lisa, I find one of the biggest differences between the British and the American accents is how “can’t” is pronounced which I also find the trickest for us trying to learn the American accent. I just can’t really tell the American “can’t” from the American “can”. So I have to say the British “can’t” instead so as to avoid confusion even though I know it sounds awkward when I am trying to imitate the American accent. Could you please give me some tips on how to cope with it? Thanks so much!

  2. Alex April 9, 2009 at 7:43 am

    Hello Lisa, its me Alex again. I have one more question about the American accent – I have ordered your book on but it has not come yet so I am not sure if it is already mentioned in your book. Anyway, is it true that the final “t”s on words are always not released?

  3. Lisa Mojsin April 9, 2009 at 8:25 am

    Hi Alex,
    I answered one of your questions in a new post and will also get to answering the “can” and “can’t” issue soon. By the way, I also discuss these words in my book.

  4. Alex April 10, 2009 at 2:44 am

    Hi Lisa, thank you so much and I just can’t wait to get your book!

  5. Anonymous October 1, 2010 at 6:19 am

    Hello, Lisa! It's Paul. Thank you very much for your lessons. They are very helpful and I must admit when you are really involved in this then it's easy to pull all linguistic barriers off. Anyway, I have one little question. Most people say and write that all Americans ALWAYS pronounce the "R" sound. But it seems to me that in such words as "for", "clearly", "farther, "further" and others, the "R" sound is not pronounced (or I can't hear it), i.e. reduced to, let us say, a kind of British traditional pronounciation. And it especially occurs in a very quick speech. What do you think about this issue? Thank you!

  6. Lisa Mojsin October 1, 2010 at 6:24 am


    Yes, when speaking quickly, sometimes Americans do drop the R.(unless they are speaking with a regional dialect. For example, Boston.) It's generally just lazy or sloppy speech. Certain sounds that require the mouth muscles to move a lot can be omitted. The R requires a tense tongue. Other times the "b" sound can disappear. For example when people say "probly" instead of "probably."

  7. Karen van Hoek June 8, 2011 at 11:30 pm

    That's interesting that some people think the 'r' is dropped in words like for, farther, further, etc. I'm a native speaker with a hybrid California/Midwestern accent (more Midwestern than California), and I'm certain I never drop the 'r' in those words. I'm not used to hearing anyone drop it, except on the East Coast, where non-rhotic (r-dropping) accents are common. Are there any rhotic (r-pronouncing) accents in which speakers sometimes get "casual" enough to start leaving out r's?

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