500 Common Words: R – ire (say IYR)

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American speakers pronounce R by making the tongue tense. When the tongue is tense, the throat naturally becomes a little bit tight. Make sure that the tip of the tongue does not touch the top of the mouth.

In grade schools, American teachers compare the R to a growling sound made by a cat. If you think of that, it could help you to tense the tongue and throat in the right way.

You can also think of the consonant Y sound as in yes. With this sound, we tense the tongue just a bit. R is made in about the same way except the tongue is much tenser.

If you are not used to this R sound, you just need practice. Remember: Americans pronounce all R sounds–whether R is first, middle or last.

Use the video to listen and repeat common words.

The Words

Buyer, Fire, Hire, Tire, Wire