Here are more than 100 common English words in which you DON’T say the “D” sound! I’ll show you how and why AND give you a bunch of training on this tricky lesson. Once you’ve got it down you’ll be sounding more like a native speaker in no time!
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Every language has its own characteristics. One of the characteristics of English is smoothness, and in order for Americans to get this, they often drop T’s and D’s in common words, without even realizing it. Americans drop the D in many common words and phrases, and we’ll go over more than a hundred of these, take these two words.
In most cases, most people will pronounce them the same. This is ‘tens’, and they’ll drop the D here making it sound like ‘tens’. Tens of thousands of people were there. He tends to be right. Tens, tends. Honestly, it’s hard even to pronounce that with an audible D. Let me try.
No. Almost every native speaker will say “tens.” Now don’t just go dropping any old D. There is a specific pattern happening here, which we’ll go over. But first, let’s look at another word with a dropped D and see if you can guess the pattern. The word is “friendship” . But let’s first look at the the word Friend. My friend is here. Friend is, friend is, dis, dis, d, d, d. We say that. We say that word D. But in the word ‘friendship,’ we don’t. Instead of ‘friendship,’ we say ‘friennnnship’. The D is completely gone. Nine times out of 10, if not more, you’ll hear Americans drop that D.
This is the most common pronunciation. Why? D is a stop consonant. So by leaving it out, by NOT doing the stop, we get more smoothness in our speech. American English is full of this smooth quality. And one of the things that has evolved in spoken American English is dropping D in the pattern N, D, consonant. In the word ‘friendship’, D comes after N before SH. Drop that D for more natural spoken English. Friendship. But in the phrase ‘friend is’, the sound after D is a vowel. Don’t drop the D. My friend is here. Friend is. Dududu. Little light d. But Friendship, drop the D. Friendly, drop the D, Friends, drop the D. N, D + consonant. This is true in words that link too. For example, My friend was there last week. Frien-was. Linking ‘friend’ into a consonant, the W sound here, drop the D. Friend was. My friend was. Friend was.
What do you think? Have you been trying to pronounce that D? Friendddd was. Or have you been dropping the D without realizing it, because that’s what you hear happening around you?
To make sure we’re hearing it correctly, let’s go back to those examples, other people saying ‘friendship’, and play them in slow motion. We should hear no D, but the N linking directly into the SH, Friennnnnship.
This dropped D really sounds very natural in the full sentences.
If you want to know more about the right mouth position for the English sounds, Click here or in the video description to get a free cheat sheet on the sounds of American English, it’s a great reference tool and even I use it quite a bit.
There are lots of words with N, D, and another consonant, and when you include linking, there are even more cases. We’ll go over more examples with clips, and then we will give you a huge list. Think of it, all these words without a stop, that will smooth out your English and simplify your pronunciation.
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Our next word: Grandkids. Grannnnnkids, no D.
What other ‘grand’ words do we have? Grandstand. That’s the main seating area in a stadium. No D. Grandparents. No D. Grand piano. Two different words there, but we link them, so no D. Grand piano.
Errands. Whew, I have a lot of errands to run today. Errannnnns. No D.
Kindness, with no D, is more common than kindness with the D.
Related words: kinds. There are all kinds of problems. No D. What about ‘kindly’? In my research, the -ly ending is a case where I think it is more common to say the D. Kindly. But it’s also okay to drop it. Oh, he’s a kindly old man. No D. Really, that one can go either way.
Let’s look at a few two-word phrases now, with linking. Around – the, aroun’the. Linking the words, dropping the D, the most common pronunciation. Let’s hear the others.
Any time you’re linking ‘around’ into a word that begins with a consonant, do this. Around my, around this, around those, around nine o-clock. Around one o’clock. Around one. Now the word word ‘one’ starts with the letter O, which is a vowel. What gives? Why am I dropping the D? For this rule, I’m talking about sounds. Not letters. The word ‘one’ starts with a vowel letter but the first sound is the W sound which is a consonant. So it’s N, D, plus consonant sound, Aroun’one.
Another common ND word is found. Link it into a consonant, drop the D. Found my. I found my phone. Founnnnnmmmmy. No D.
Found my, found their, found this, found these. For example.
Second is another common ND-ending word. Second time. No D. Seconnnnntime.
Second time, second-best, second place, second shift, also seconds, or second-hand. If you buy something second-hand, that means it’s used, not new, it had another owner before. For example, I buy a lot of kid’s clothes secondhand. Kids grow out of things fast, so the clothes can often be in good condition.
Ok, you get it, you got it, you’re going to master this aspect of the American accent. Just to get your brain going on these combinations, I’m going to now give you a massive list of common words and two-word links where we drop the D.
Ok wow, I went deep there. You get the point. Pick a phrase you want to work on, go to Youglish to see a bunch of examples, that’s where I go do my research. It’s a great place to not only get real-world examples for a particular word or phrase, but to hear the pronunciation of many different people. Type in ‘behind the’ and practice out loud, imitating what you hear.
Check out RachelsEnglishAcademy.com if you want to learn more about my online courses, which focuses on accent reduction, listening comprehension, ease when speaking English and so on. It’s packed with tips like this one, dropping the D after N before a consonant. Thanks so much for learning with me. I love being your English teacher and accent coach. Keep your learning going now with this video, and don’t forget to subscribe to my channel with all notifications on so you never miss a lesson. That’s it and thanks so much for using Rachel’s English.