According to Encyclopedia Britannica, a tongue twister is a word or group of words made difficult to articulate by a close sequence of similar consonantal sounds. Tongue twisters are often passed on for generations, becoming a rich part of folklore.
Tongue twisters have been recommended for curing hiccups and for curing lisps and other speech defects. They are also used for testing the fit of dentures and for screening applicants for broadcasting positions.
Authors from EngVid (Free English Video Lessons) website (https://www.engvid.com/) mention that “Tongue twisters are a great way to practice and improve pronunciation and fluency. They can also help to improve accents by using alliteration, which is the repetition of one sound. They’re not just for kids, but are also used by actors, politicians, and public speakers who want to sound clear when speaking”.
If you are a teacher, the first thing you’ll need to consider is your students’ ages and level, because some phrases can be difficult for even native speakers.
How to practice? (pieces of advices by Claudia Pesce on Busy Teacher)
- Hand out copies of the tongue twisters to your students and have them read them to themselves.
- Discuss any word they may not be familiar with. Make sure they understand what the tongue twister is trying to say; there’s usually a logic to what initially seems to be a random jumble of words.
- Ask a student to read it out loud, but don’t make any corrections. Make a note of the problem areas. Do the same with the rest of the students in the class. Have them take turns reading the tongue twister, and you’ll see which have greater difficulties.
- Read each line or section, one at a time, and ask students to repeat after you. You may wish to do this with one student only, small groups, or the entire class, but this is a great opportunity to work especially with students who have pronunciation difficulties.
- Focus on specific consonant or vowel sounds. You may also choose to focus on the different pronunciations of the past form of regular verbs.
- And don’t forget to have fun with them!
Below, you will find 50 tongue twisters, excellent tips to help students improve their pronunciation in English:
- Nine nice night nurses nursing nicely.
- If a dog chews shoes, whose shoes does he choose?
- Four furious friends fought for the phone.
- If you want to buy, buy, if you don’t want to buy, bye bye!
- A loyal warrior will rarely worry why we rule.
- I can think of six thin things, but I can think of six thick things too.
- Any noise annoys an oyster but a noisy noise annoys an oyster more.
- Which witch switched the Swiss wristwatches?
- On a lazy laser raiser lies a laser ray eraser.
- The great Greek grape growers grow great Greek grapes.
- Fresh fried fish, fish fresh fried, fried fish fresh, fish fried fresh.
- Fred fed Ted bread and Ted fed Fred bread.
- Of all the smells I have ever smelt, I never smelt a smell that smelt like that smell smelt.
- I scream, you scream, we all scream, for ice cream!
- A big bug bit a bold bald bear and the bold bald bear bled blood badly.
- How can a clam cram in a clean cream can?
- Can you can a canned can into an un-canned can like a canner can can a canned can into an un-canned can?
- When you write copy you have the right to copyright the copy you write.
- Imagine an imaginary menagerie manager managing an imaginary menagerie.
- She sells seashells by the seashore.
- Susie works in a shoeshine shop. Where she shines she sits, and where she sits she shines.
- There was a fisherman named Fisher who fished for some fish in a fissure. Till a fish with a grin, pulled the fisherman in. Now they’re fishing the fissure for Fisher.
- I wish to wish the wish you wish to wish, but if you wish the wish the witch wishes, I won’t wish the wish you wish to wish.
- We supply wristwatches for witchwatchers watching witches Washington wishes watched.
- Many mumbling mice are making merry music in the moonlight.
- The ruddy widow really wants ripe watermelon and red roses when winter arrives.
- I have got a date at a quarter to eight; I’ll see you at the gate, so don’t be late.
- I saw a kitten eating chicken in the kitchen.
- I saw a saw that could out saw any saw I ever saw saw. If you happen to see a saw that can out saw the saw I saw saw I’d like to see the saw you saw saw.
- Six sick hicks nick six slick bricks with picks and sticks.
- Mix a box of mixed biscuits with a boxed biscuit mixer.
- Excited executioner exercising his excising powers excessively.
- Rory’s lawn rake rarely rakes really right.
- Love’s a feeling you feel when you feel you’re going to feel the feeling you’ve never felt before.
- How many berries could a bare berry carry, if a bare berry could carry berries? Well, they can’t carry berries (which could make you very wary) but a bare berry carried is more scary!
- Through three cheese trees, three free fleas flew. While these fleas flew, freezy breeze blew. Freezy breeze made these three trees freeze. Freezy trees made these trees’ cheese freeze. That’s what made these three free fleas sneeze.
- How many cookies could a good cook cook If a good cook could cook cookies? A good cook could cook as much cookies as a good cook who could cook cookies.
- How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?
He would chuck, he would, as much as he could, and chuck as much wood
As a woodchuck would if a woodchuck could chuck wood.
- A skunk sat on a stump and thunk the stump stunk, but the stump thunk the skunk stunk.
- Brisk brave brigadiers brandished broad bright blades, blunderbusses, and bludgeons—balancing them badly.
- Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers. Did Peter Piper pick a peck of pickled peppers? If Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers, where’s the peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper picked?
- When a doctor doctors a doctor, does the doctor doing the doctoring doctor as the doctor being doctored wants to be doctored or does the doctor doing the doctoring doctor as he wants to doctor?
- Three grey geese in the green grass grazing. Grey were the geese and green was the grass.
- Mary Mac’s mother’s making Mary Mac marry me. My mother’s making me marry Mary Mac. Will I always be so Merry when Mary’s taking care of me? Will I always be so merry when I marry Mary Mac?
- The thirty-three thieves thought that they thrilled the throne throughout Thursday.
- I thought a thought, but the thought I thought wasn’t the thought I thought I thought. If the thought I thought I thought had been the thought I thought, I wouldn’t have thought so much.
- Betty Botter bought a bit of butter. “But,” she said, “this bit of butter’s bitter, but a bit of better butter mixed with this butter might just make my bit of bitter butter better.” So, Betty bought a bit of better butter to make her bitter butter better.
- If you must cross a coarse, cross cow across a crowded cow crossing, cross the cross, coarse cow across the crowded cow crossing carefully.
- If practice makes perfect and perfect needs practice, I’m perfectly practiced and practically perfect.
- Whether the weather be fine,
Or whether the weather be not,
Whether the weather be cold,
Or whether the weather be hot,
We’ll weather the weather,
Whatever the weather,
Whether we like it or not.