It makes my blood boil!

it makes my blood boil

The “t” in “it” is pronounced with both your lips, not the tongue, so you’re ready for the /m/ sound. Be careful not to open your lips between the sounds. A similar thing happens with the “d” of “blood”. This is also pronounced with both lips, not tongue, to be ready for the /b/ sound. Again, don’t open your lips between the sounds.

The phrase means, “It makes me angry”. I hope nothing makes your blood boil today.


What did you make of it?

what did you make of it

The first three words contract down to something which sounds like one. Of course, we don’t generally pause between words anyway. I put gaps in the transcription because it’s too hard to read without them, but they’re not there when we speak. Notice the weak vowel in “of”. A lot of prepositions are often pronounced with the /ə/ sound.

If you’re finding it difficult to read the transcription, don’t forget you can follow links on the Useful Links page to an interactive chart and the BBC tutorials. You’ll soon get the hang of it! (There’s a phrase we should do sometime!)

In the phrase “What did you make of it?”, the word “make” means “think”. The meaning is then clear.

What do you make of Say the Phrase? Please post comments and share.


You made it!

you made it

Because the stressed word is “made”, “you” is weak, so the vowel becomes shorter and changes to /ə/. The sound /eɪ/ is simply the two sounds /e/ and /ɪ/ joined together without a break. Notice the glottal stop /ʔ/ at the end. A full /t/ sound would need too much stress, or effort on an unstressed word.

The phrase usually means “you got here (or there).” For example, you might say it to somebody who arrives at your party, if you weren’t sure they would come.

It made my day!

it made my day

Because /t/ to /m/ is difficult, the “t” of “it” is pronounced with your lips instead of your tongue. It’s important to keep your lips closed between the two sounds. We have the same problem with /d/ to /m/, so make the “d” with your lips also, remembering not to open your lips until you let the air out of your nose for the /m/ sound. This will take practice, and feel strange at first, so listen and copy as many times as you need to.

The phrase means, “It was the best thing that happened to me today”. Maybe it was that girl or boy who smiled at you, or that lottery win, or something kind somebody said.

That did the trick.

that did the trick

The important thing here is that no vowel appears between “That” and “did”, and between “did” and “the”. This is surprisingly easy, because the sounds are very close in the mouth. When you make the /t/ at the end of “that”, be careful not to let it out. Your tongue is already in position for the /d/, so simply introduce the voice, and release the /d/. This will take practice. Between /d/ and /ð/ again, you need to keep the tongue in contact, but this time you need to change the way you make the /d/ slightly, placing your tongue a little forward, so it comes in contact with your top teeth, ready for the /ð/ sound. This will feel strange at first, and also needs practice. Have fun!

The phrase means “that solved the problem”.

I’m done in.

I'm done in

In Northern Standard English, the /ʌ/ is pronounced /ʊ/, like “book”. Learners often find it strange that we stress prepositions, but it’s normal with a phrasal verb or adjective. People sometimes find it strange that we can have a preposition at the end of a sentence, but this is perfectly OK.

“Done in” means very tired or dead, so you might say this after a very hard day’s work, or after running a marathon.

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: