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​​Today We Improve English Pronunciation Of Words Like Cheese And Fish

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​Summary: Improve English Pronunciation

​Speaking to an English language student about how you can improve English pronunciation caused this short Thursday podcast to happen.

It is easy to mix these two English word sounds up or use them incorrectly. When you mix them, you can end up with some funny (to a Native English speaker) sounding English sentences.

Saying Cheese with “Shhhh” ended up with “Sheeese” and Fish with “Ch” you get “Fich”. So to today we have a whole lesson to help people practice the pronunciation of “Shhh” and “Ch” and importantly when to use these word sounds.

We have provided several pronunciation practice sentences for you to repeat. However, to get the best out of this “Listen & learn” podcast we recommend you also say these words and sentences out loud. Saying the sentences and words out loud is important as you need to train your mouth to form the correct shapes.

​Audio Transcript: Today We Improve English Pronunciation Of Words Like Cheese And Fish

​Hi there! This is our Thursday podcast, which means that it’s a short one. If you’re really interested in improving your English conversation and your spoken English language skills, then you’re in the right place. Listening to spoken English will help you become more fluent, more easily when you begin to try to speak the language. If you would like to progress more quickly and further and if you like our podcasts, then have a look at our course on, which is called ‘Course One, Activate Your Listening’. This course is taught in the same way as the podcasts, but it gives you over 5 hours of English language learning and includes conversation. There are other voices on there, as well as mine!

Anyway, today I thought that we’d do a bit more work on pronunciation. So what about the difference between the sounds ‘sh’ and ‘ch’. It depends whether your language has both of these sounds. If it does, then presumably, this is a bit easier for you? But many languages have only one or other of these sounds. So that’s a bit more difficult to hear the difference. And if it’s more difficult to hear the difference between ‘sh’ and ‘ch’, then it means that you’re going to find it difficult when it comes to saying them.

​Let’s Improve Your English Pronunciation Starting With Some “Shhhh” and “Ch” Word Sounds

​So ‘sh’, S-H- first of all. ‘Shhhhhhhhh’. This is the sound which is in words like shall – ‘I shhhall’  and it’s in shoe and short and shape and shadow and sheep and fish.

And then the other sound is ‘ch’, C-H-. Ch-ch-ch-ch. So this is the sound which is in words like children, chicken, chips, cheese, cheer, China and teacher. You have to be a little bit careful with ‘ch’, because in some English words it’s pronounced differently. It’s not  ‘ch’.  So in some words, like ‘chemistry’ for example, it’s a hard sound. Also in chasm or charisma. So these are all words with a Greek origin – that’s why it’s different. And then there are also some words in English that begin with C-H-, but they come from French – so they have more of a ‘shhh’ sound. So this would be words like chic, chateau, chandelier or chevron.

A photograph of a woman with curley hair and lips shaped like a flower. Used as an article image for the article “Today We Improve English Pronunciation Of Words Like Cheese And Fish Article Image”

​But most English words which use C-H- are a ‘ch’ sound. Like the word ‘which’ at the end. They fall into this middle category where it’s a ch-ch-ch-ch  sort of sound. Church or cheese or champion’s league type ‘ch’.

So OK. How do you make the difference between ‘sh’, S-H- and ‘ch’, C-H- when you’re speaking?

​“Shhhh” Is The First Of Our English Sound Pronunciation Practice


So to make this sound, to make the shhh sound first of all, your lips are open, a bit like a flower. And your tongue – that’s the big, pink thing inside your mouth – your tongue moves towards the front of your mouth. But if you’re saying shhh, it’s not touching anything. So you breathe out through the narrow gaps between your tongue and your teeth and the roof of your mouth. And you make a sound ‘shhhhhhhhhh’, that perhaps is a bit like a waterfall in the distance or maybe a shower running in your bathroom?! Or perhaps heavy rain. Shhhhhh. It’s a longer sound. If you have a hole in your tyre on your car. Very unfortunate! You might hear a ‘shhhh’ sound as the air comes out.

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Today We Improve English Pronunciation Of Words Like Cheese And Fish Audio 5.59 MB

​The “Ch” English Pronunciation Exercise Is More Difficult Because English Words With A Greek Origin Sound Different!


If you want to say ‘ch’, then again your lips are open – so this is the C-H- sound, ‘ch’. Your lips are open, like a flower. But it’s a shorter sound – and you start by touching the end, the tip of your tongue on the roof of your mouth, just behind your front teeth. Then you breathe out again, you push your tongue against the roof of your mouth and then away. So when you’ve finished saying the ‘ch’ sound, your tongue isn’t in contact with the roof of your mouth. So it’s a short sound, ‘ch-ch-ch-ch’ and it’s more like the noise that a ticket machine might make when it’s printing out your tickets out. Or if you know what an old fashioned steam train sounds like? ‘Ch-ch-ch’. Or perhaps the noise of a cymbal – that’s a bit like it.

​Some English Pronunciation Practice Sentences

  • ​So let’s give you a bit of practice with some sentences, which are full of ‘sh’ and ‘ch’ sounds.
  • Chicken and chips are on offer, with milk shakes, should you want those. (I’ll say them twice)
  • She collected sea shells on the sea shore, but she chose a cheddar cheese sandwich. (….cheddar cheese sandwiches)
  • I shall change my shoes, then we can have a chat on the way to the shop and then we’ll go to the church.


OK, I hope that helps with your pronunciation. It’s good to listen to this podcast a number of times and then you can practice saying ‘sh’ and ‘ch’ for yourself.

Enough for now. Have a lovely day. Speak to you again soon. Goodbye.

​PS: Practice Makes Perfect! You Need To “Shhhh” and “Ch” To Get These Right

​​​We hope you had fun with this English pronunciation practice lesson. Just to let you in on a little secret even we found saying the “She collected sea shells on the sea shore, but she chose a cheddar cheese sandwich.” sentence quickly difficult!

As with all our listen and learn lessons you get the most out of the lesson if you listen to the audio many times. If you have any difficultly with a specific English word or just want to know the spelling of that word then please use the full PDF transcript we provide for free with every podcast lesson we release.

If you like this lesson or want help with more English pronunciation but cannot find a pronunciation lesson that covers your problem. Please, just contact us online using Facebook. We are here to help so just ask us.

​We have lots of other tips on learning to speak English .

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Hilary is an Adept English Editor and a founding member of the company.

This content was originally published here.

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