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.”

I think I put my foot in it.

I think I put my foot in it.

The shortened diphthongs on “I” and “”my” are optional and vary regionally. The “t” at the end of “put” changes because of the following /m/ sound. Pronounce the “t” with both lips, but keep them closed, pause, then make the /m/. You’ll need to practice.

This means “I think I said something wrong”, maybe you’ve offended someone, or let somebody’s secret out. If you’re wondering what you put your foot in, we also say, “I put my foot in my mouth”, so there’s your answer.

I’m all fingers and thumbs!

I'm all fingers and thumbs

Notice how “and” reduces to a single sound /n/, which needs to be made a little further forward than usual, with your tongue already just touching the inside of your top teeth, ready for the /θ/. This will need practice. Feel how different it is from the way you would have said it before.

This phrase means “I’m very clumsy at the moment.”, perhaps because your hands are cold, though thankfully there’s no chance of that here right now.

(Let’s) get a move on!

let's get a move on

Notice the different pronunciation of the “t” in “let’s” and the “t” in “get”. In “let’s” we use a glottal stop, down in the same place you make a /h/, so the tongue can more easily be ready for the /s/. However, after “get”, we have a vowel here, so we need a clear /t/ sound made with the front of the tongue.

“Get a move on” means “Hurry up”, or “be quick”.

We’d better leg it!

we'd better leg it

The “d” in the contraction of “had” changes to help with the following /b/ sound, to be pronounced with the lips, making it like the beginning of a /b/, but don’t release it, just pause, and release on “better”. You’ll need to listen and practise.

“We’d better” is a suggestion, and “leg it” means run, so this means “I suggest we run.” You might say it if you’re running late, or if you see something scary like a zombie, vampire, or maybe your boss.