How to Pronounce IMPORTANT – American English


In this American English pronunciation video,
we’re going to go over the pronunciation of the word ‘important’. This is a tough word, and I’ve gotten lots
of requests for it. Thanks for putting in your request, I’m glad to do it for you. I’m going to give you two different ways
to pronounce this word. Either one is okay, one is more common. Neither of them are what
you’ll find when you look in a dictionary. If you look in a dictionary, it says the pronunciation
is: important. Important, with two fully pronounced True
T’s. Dictionaries haven’t really caught up when it comes to the habits of Americans
and the pronunciation of the letter T. ‘Important’ is way over-pronounced. Check out the series
Tom and made where we only used True T, no reductions, and no contractions by clicking
here or in the description. You’ll see how unnatural it sounds. So the pronunciations
we’ll study today will involve Stop T’s. The natural way to speak American English. This is a three-syllable word with stress
on the middle syllable: im-POR-nt, da-DA-da, important. That means the middle syllable
will have the up-down shape of stress and will be the loudest, longest, clearest syllable. The first T comes in the pattern T-schwa-N.
If you’ve seen my video on ‘mountain’, then you know this is a Stop T. Mount-ain,
stop the air. Import-ant, stop the air. Don’t make a True T sound, important. The second
T can either be a Stop T or a True T: important or important. Let’s watch up close and in
slow motion to see how these sounds are made. The jaw drops just a little bit for the opening
vowel, the IH as in SIT vowel. The tongue tip is down and forward. Then the lips come
together for the M sound. The lips are in position for the P, closed. The next sound
is the AW as in LAW sound. But when AW is followed by the R consonant,
it is not a pure AW anymore. Instead of AW, it’s aw, aw. My lips are rounding a bit
more, AW, aw, and my tongue pulls back a little bit. That brings the sound further back in
my mouth. –Po-, -po-, instead of aw, aw. The reason is the R. The tongue pulls back
and up for the R, so it’s influencing this vowel. I’m blending the R position with
the pure AW position to get impo-r-. Let’s see what this R-influenced AW vowel looks
like. The lips release from the P into this modified
AW. Notice how the lips are quite rounded—more rounded than in a pure AW vowel. Also, see
how the inside of the mouth is dark. We don’t really see the tongue. This is because it’s
pulling back. Impo-. As the AW moves into the R consonant, the lips relax just a bit.
The tip of the tongue is pulled back and up. Remember that this is our stressed syllable,
im-por-. –Por-. Make sure you give it some length, and that the pitch falls off, up-down,
impor-. This is the character of a stressed syllable. Now we have another unstressed syllable. The
front, flat part of the tongue goes to the roof of the mouth for the N. Don’t worry
about making a clear schwa sound. Go from the position of the R, with the tip pulled
back and up, into the N, with the front of the tongue against the roof of the mouth.
Stop the air for just a second before you make the N sound. It’s not “porant” [2x], smooth, but
–portant [2x] , with a Stop. Make this stop once your tongue is in position for the N.
Portant. To finish, you can either stop the air at the end, important. Or, you can make
a True T, important, tt, tt. Important, important. Either way, we stop
the first T. This word is tough, but watch this video several times, practice out loud,
slowly, and I think you’ll start to get the hang of it. If there’s a word or phrase
you’d like help pronouncing, put it in the comments below. Also, I’m happy to tell you my book, American
English Pronunciation, is available for purchase. If you want an organized, step-by-step resource
to build your American accent, click here to get the book, or see the description below.
I think you’re going to love it. That’s it, and thanks so much for using
Rachel’s English.

100 thoughts on “How to Pronounce IMPORTANT – American English”

  1. Your videos are really useful. I always have trouble with pronouncing the word "birthday". I wonder if I could watch a video of pronouncing this word from you. Thank you.

  2. Hello! thanks for sharing this information with us. how can I pronounce properly the word "world"? could you teach us?

  3. Rachel, is pronouncing this word with both true 't's wrong? I have no ambition to sound exactly like an American. I just want to be understood by the largest number of people, including non-Americans.

  4. Could you please make more videos about the stop t? This is very hard. Also, could you make a video about th sound after r, like earth and birth? Thanks!

  5. Hi Rachel, I'm from Viet Nam.
    I'm sometimes so confused with "military", please show me how to pronounce it correctly! Thanks!

  6. wrong. imporTanT is correct, 2 strong T's. Anyone can pronounce the T's if they want to, people are just too lazy. I'm tired of people butchering the english language and then know-it-all's like this decide they can dictate that it's OK too fricking change the language to accommodate retards too lazy to pronounce words correctly. what a joke. at least you didn't say imporDant is ok. too many people say imporDant instead of 2 strong T's. pisses me off

  7. I will be speak as I like. It is stupid to follow the crowd just because the crowd started to speak differently. And BTW how the change started? Some person had stopped use T against the crowd. So in the past break out from the crowd was good but now it is not?

  8. Could you also help us with the phrase "imperious and pedantic language teacher"?

    Seriously, thank you for ignoring how the rest of the Anglophonic world pronounces this word. We would truly struggle if it weren't for your magnanimity.

    In almost all English-speaking cities, there are plenty of migrants who can barely make themselves understood, let alone fine tune their Yankee accent, but at least they'll be able to refer to your videos and practice for hours to get one word right.

  9. Rachel, can i completely drop the t in every words that's ending with t? It seems very difficult for me to pronounce it without sounding awkward like you said. e.g just > jas, must > mas, fast > fas, most > mos. When i talk to others in english, they seems to be able to understand it without any problem though. Also i don't intend to speak like an american. Please answer my question, I have been struggling with this case for about 2 weeks.

  10. Hi Rachel, I want to know how to pronounce the word CONTENT as in "content browser", or the "library's content". is it different to when you pronounce content as in "he was content with his life"? does anyone have the stop t?

  11. I hate when people pronounce it as if it is spelled importint. Oh and when people pronounce didn't as ditn't that drives me crazier. Yes I am obsessive thanks to an old school Catholic education.

  12. Much better than "impordent", but still grinds my gears when I don't hear the full T sound.

    This "American English" pronunciation claim is more niche than is claimed.

  13. You are beyond believe … i have been watching your videos for over a year they learned me tons … many thanks to you ..!!

  14. Good channel. Like! Do you use the same technic while pronouncing "in there". So it's not actually sounds as it spells. You leave out the 'th' sound and say it like in-ere. Am I right?

  15. Dear teacher could you clarify the pronunciation of the word Ordinary, some say oneri, still others odinari. In American English, how is it really pronounced? Again i heard a song of Jordine Sparks pronouncing this phrase: One step at a time= wan step ati e taim but the way she sang sounded wan steparetaim. So how come? i was perplexed to grasp this!

  16. Thank you for your videos!! they are so helpful. can you please do a video for the words, California, Florida and almond? thanks

  17. Dear Teacher,
    Thank you so much for posting many many free videos for us. I've been watching them for a long time and my pronunciation is getting better and better day by day. Thanks again for that.
    But Y'know, I found it hard to say the /d/ sound when it's followed by a /th/ sound. I'd heard some Americans say in stories: I realized that my money was gone from my purse or He never mowed the lawn. As you see, the /th/ sounds in that, the are followed by /d/ in realized, mowed. They are in past tense.
    Actually, I didn't hear the /d/ releasing anymore, and I really wanna know ''Why". This is two examples, but I saw many situations like these. Hoping it would be the next video from you to make somebody like me. Thanks a lot. God bless you, your son and your family!

  18. Sounds more challenging than I thought (particularly for a bilingual person), but this is helpful. There are certain words that I still mispronounce, especially, some of those words with the letter "R". The word "itinerary" seems a bit easier to pronounce than the word "important," because of the pronounced "T" on itinerary.

  19. I refuse to pronounce non-true t. It sounds unclear and people won't understand me. True t is also the most natural for me.

  20. I've been struggling with word for a while, that is the disconnect from my usage to what I hear in the media. I've always used both Ts and wondered why your styles were being used, especially as you say because the dictionary confirmed my usage style. I guess I just have to give up and accept the dropping of one or both 'true' Ts. When did this change from im-porTnT happen?

  21. Rachel, I love all your videos. They are the best ones on the Internet. Could you explain how to pronounce "printer" and "Internet"? Thank you so much!!

  22. Great video, but I have to say on a side note, that it is better when sounds are more distinctly pronounced in a language such as the case with Romance and Slavic languages. The mumbling and swallowing of sounds ruins a language in the long run, and makes it less comprehensible.

  23. please what's the correct pronunciation of "either" and "neither" because i hear them in two different ways in american accent. once as an (I"ther") as if it starts with the sound of an"I" or (ee"ther") with a long stressed "e" in the beginning. what's the difference? and what's the correct? . finally i just wanna say thank u for ur amazing videos and smooth clear tips 🙂

  24. 'Important' is an easy word for most.

    Teaching English pronunciation to young people on the other hand, must be difficult. First come the rules and a student's best efforts to learn compliance in everyday usage. Second, the way that children develop that includes individual and cultural differences adds additional burdens to overcome. Additionally, children with hearing impairments or those with parents and family members with their own idiosyncrasy and personal opinions that work to justify breakage of established rules.

    Excepting uncontrollable disability, I believe the best start that we can give to children is to provide instruction that eventually helps them to speak the English language correctly rather than joining together with them through permissive or enabling behaviors that make excuses for the reasons why their speech is variant. Eventually, the slippery slope of making exceptions can contribute to sub-cultures that then go on to declare their version of the English language is the correct one; the example of 'ebonics' comes to mind and the culture war that resulted.

  25. English people say "Important" is it weird
    I had an American boyfriend and now I speak English and I speak half American.. 😀

  26. Hi Rachel, and thanks for the interesting breakdown! Could you comment on the current tendency of Millennials particularly to add this sort of hitch after the stop T, so that it sounds like "impor-int"?

  27. I hear some people pronounce the word
    im por ent. With the emphasis on the second syllable. Makes them sound as if they have a lisp or are talking baby talk. I have noticed this probably for only a couple of years. It's not a matter of the dictionary catching up. Until it is in the dictionary, it is incorrect English grammar.

  28. No mention of how many if not most millennials now pronounce important
    "impor-int." And the word button is now "buh-in" or
    "but-tin." I can deal with every other word being "like," but this is annoying.

  29. Very nice video. But I don't think this is just American. In london I would hear things like "press the bu'n, it's impo'n".

  30. The US has simply butchered English so this somehow makes it the norm. Canadians say important stressing both ts…as it should be. I hate hearing US versions, some even say im-porn-ant

  31. The word is im por tant. It is not im por DANT. It never was im por DANT, and never will be im por DANT. This is important information for you linguistically imperialistic amerikans. Drag your knuckles to a library and open a book. Huh? If you do not like this comment, just call in an airstrike.

  32. 0:40 That should be Americans have not really caught up, with how to pronounce English words, correctly. 😁

  33. I keep hearing people pronounce it, imporn… I'm serious, and it really gets on my nerves, and feels incredibly lazy…like they just said screw the t's…no pun intended..

  34. I'm fascinated by how "kids these days" are changing the pronunciation of the stop t to a faster, voiced, "d" sound. They way they say it, I hear "press the buddon, it's impordant, france and briddon, mardin van buren, laddin america, " Contractions with nt add more vowel: where i'd say "did nt" I hear much more "did ent" in this emerging dialect. "Wanted" is morphing towards "wadded". I haven't been able to figure out if there's any geographic pattern to these changes, but I hear them all the time on youtube channels being narrated by millenials. Is there any academic literature that's studying these current changes?

  35. Hey Rachel could you explain why in SONGS Americans sing the “T”, there are no “stopped T”, but when speaking they do it?

  36. I just assumed the wahy young people pronounce this word was directly out of Ebonics, straight out of the Rap culture that started in the mid-late 1980s. Im-por-ent sounds ignorant.

  37. I've noticed in the last few years, young people have started to pronounce certain words in an odd way. "Important" is one of them. They'll really kind of stop – with a very soft or non-existent "t" after the first two syllables – "import" – and then they'll say "ant" – with an emphasis on the "a" – and with the last syllable kind of really separate from the first two. Same thing with "mountain" – and other similar words – they'll say "mount" (soft "t") – "An". Anyone know what I'm talking about?? It kind of really bugs me – and I actually like new slang words and stuff – but this is a pronunciation thing.

  38. Would you help us with the word "order"? I'm an Indian lawyer in Canada, and back home we pronounce the word as "aw-der", but with the way rs are pronounced in North America, I've observed how others say it, but I'm unable to emulate it. Based on my observations, in Canada, the "or-" is more like how we say "ore" (in iron ore), the "-d" isnt stressed at all (which is what I find the most difficult to do), and the "-er" is the usual rolled "r" as is pronounced here

  39. Amazing and clear explanation. Loving it. Now I'm saving another word in my word's box 😊. I'll be eating more and more words 😋.

  40. Can you please make a video on how to pronounce immediate and immediately.. Please.. Both of the words are difficult to pronounce!!

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