That’ll do.

that'll do

Remember to be sure your tongue is touching your top teeth for the first sound /ð/. The really tricky bit here, though, is the three consonants /tld/ together. You must pronounce these without a vowel sound coming between them. When you make the /t/ sound, don’t remove your tongue from the top of your mouth. Keep the front of your tongue in place, but lift the middle slightly, letting air pass round the sides (This is much easier than it sounds) and introduce your voice. The result is you move smoothly from /t/ to /l/. Now push the middle of your tongue back up a little to where it was, and you’ll go to the /d/ sound. This will all take some practice, but the important thing is to keep the front of your tongue touching the top of your mouth all the time.

The phrase means “That’s good enough”, or sometimes, “That’s enough”.

However, if you place a lot more stress, and bigger intonation on “do”, it means “Stop it!”, in an imperative way:


This and that.

this and that

This apparently simple phrase is actually quite interesting. First, it’s a good chance to practise the tricky /ð/ sound. Remember the front of your tongue must touch the top teeth, but don’t stick it out. The /ɪ/ sound must be nice and short. Practise going from /s/ to /n/ without making a vowel in between. Also, the /n/ sound must be further forward than usual, again, with the tongue just touching the top teeth, ready for the following /ð/ sound.

The phrase is a vague answer when there’s no need for detail, for example:

“What have you been doing?”

“Oh, you know, this and that.”

I’ve got a thing about..

I've got a thing about..

We’ve spoken about “thing” recently, so here, I’d like to draw your attention to the weak vowel /ə/ for “a”, and for the first syllable of “about”. This sound is very common for unstressed vowels, and is made with the mouth just slightly open, and completely relaxed. It requires practice. It’s also good practice to listen for this sound when listening to a song or watching TV in English.

This phrase usually means “I really like..” or “I’m slightly obsessed with..”, for example, “I’ve got a thing about English pronunciation.”

What can I do for you?

What can I do for you

Notice the change in the pronunciation of the “t” in “what”. This is to make it easier to pronounce the following /k/ sound. Instead of pronouncing the “t” with the front of your tongue, use the back of the tongue, then you can go straight to the /k/ without removing your tongue in between the sounds. This takes practice. Also remember you want the weak pronunciation of “can”. The vowel sound is /ə/, not /æ/.

This simple question is another way of saying “How can I help you?”

The thing is…

the thing is

The difficulty here, for most people, is the first two consonants /ð/ and /θ/. We pronounce both with the front of the tongue just touching the top teeth. For the first sound, you use your voice. If you put your fingers on your throat, you will be able to feel the vibration. The second sound is pronounced the same, but with no voice. Try changing between the two. Be careful to use the back of the tongue for the /ŋ/ sound at the end of “thing”, otherwise, you’ll say “thin”.

In this phrase, “thing” usually means problem, or difficulty.

For example; “I’d love to come to the party, but the thing is, I have to study.”

Enough’s enough.

Enough's enough

I think the tricky part here is the /fs/ of “enough’s”. We always make the contraction in this idiom, so there should be no vowel between the sounds. Notice the pronunciation of the spelling pattern “ough” as /ʌf/. This is one of several possibilities, which is why you need to be able to read the phonemes (Symbols).

This strange phrase means “It’s time to stop now”. We often say it when we’re beginning to lose patience.

I’m going to stretch my legs.

I'm going to stretch my legs

Remember that, because “to” is unstressed, we need the weak vowel /ə/, not /u:/. I think going from the /ʧ/ of “stretch” to the /m/ of “my” is tricky (difficult), and may need practice. You need to make sure no vowel appears between the words.

This means “I’m going for a walk.”