I loved it!

I loved it

The “o” in “loved” can be pronounced /ʌ/ or /ʊ/, but not /ɒ/. If you’re not sure about those symbols, go to the Useful Links page for some sites where you can revise your sounds. It’s important that the -ed past simple ending doesn’t add a syllable. The “e” is silent. Practise!

This phrase is hopefully the answer to the last post.

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Did you enjoy yourself?

did you enjoy yourself

For me, the interesting thing here is the stress and intonation. There are two stressed words in the sentence, and to show real interest in the answer, it ends on a high termination. People confuse this with a rising tone, but it’s not the same. To see the difference, try repeating the question, as if you were surprised by it. Now you get a rising tone.

A grammar point: The verb “enjoy” must have an object. We often use reflexive pronouns (myself, yourself, himself, herself, ourselves, yourselves, themselves), so it’s useful to learn them.

We ask this question when we know somebody’s done something special; been to a party, or on holiday, for example. I hope you enjoyed your summer (or winter, if you’re in the southern hemisphere).

I got out the wrong side of bed.

I got out the wrong side of bed

The “t” at the end of “out” should be pronounced with the front of the tongue just touching the top teeth, ready for the /ð/ sound of “the”. Notice that “of” is pronounced with the mouth relaxed into the weak vowel /ə/. This is because it is not stressed. /v/ is pronounced with top teeth touching bottom lip, while /b/ is pronounced with both lips. If you’re a Spanish speaker, this may need practice.

We say this to mean, “I’m in a bad mood”. We can change the word order, and say “I got out of bed the wrong side”. We can change the pronoun, and say it to, or about, another person also.

Let’s sleep on it.

let's sleep on it

Notice that the “t” in “let’s” is pronounced as a stop down in your throat, where your voice is, not with the tongue, this makes it easier and softer. Remember not to pause between the two /s/ sounds; run them together. Make sure the /i:/ in “sleep” is nice and long.

We say this when we can’t decide something. It means, “Let’s decide tomorrow.”

I couldn’t sleep.

I couldn't sleep

This is a very interesting phrase. The double vowel (diphthong) of “I” reduces to a short sound, as it’s weak. The real problem area, though, is the cluster of consonants /dntsl/. The solution is to remove the /t/ sound completely. It’s also important to keep the front of the tongue in contact with the top of the mouth all the time as you change from one consonant to another, otherwise, you’ll get a vowel where you don’t want one. This will take some practice. Listen and repeat using the recording. Do it slowly, especially at first.

This phrase is not an idiom. It simply means I was unable to get to sleep last night. I hope you sleep well!

Leave it out!

leave it out

The most common difficulty here is the sound /i:/. The colon shows that it’s a long sound, unlike the short /ɪ/ of “live”, and needs a wider mouth, like a little smile. Notice the stress on the preposition again.

This is a slang phrase, meaning “stop it!”

Look out!

look out

A nice simple phrase, but there are some useful points. The “oo” in “look” needs to be very short, like “put”, not long, like “food”. The “t” in out can be pronounced fully, or down where your voice is, as shown here. The most important thing is that there’s plenty of stress on “out”, and big intonation, because this is a warning.

We also say “Watch out!”, with the same meaning, warning someone that they may come to harm if not careful, for example, “Look out, there’s a broken step.”

I’ve just found out.

I've just found out

The way to link “just” to “found” is simply to skip (leave out) the “t”. The diphthongs (double vowels) can be difficult. You can practise them separately. Notice the stress is on the preposition, which may be surprising, but is very common, particularly with a phrasal verb. The final “t” is often pronounced not with the tongue, but right down in the throat, where you make a /h/ sound. This sound, which looks a bit like a question mark, is called a glottal stop.

“Find out” means “discover”, so this phrase means “I’ve just discovered/heard” some news or information.