Sound matters: /ʊ/ and /u:/

This lesson focuses on the distinction between the vowel sounds (phonemes) /ʊ/ and /u:/.

Adrian Tennant

This lesson was first published on

Exercise 1

  • On the board write up the two words pull /pʊl/ and pool /pu:l/.
  • Ask a few students to pronounce the two words.
  • If you need to, model the words and make sure students can hear the difference.
  • Explain that students will hear six sentences with many words containing either /ʊ/ or /u:/.
  • The students’ task is to listen and underline all the /ʊ/ sounds and circle all the /u:/ sounds.
  • Play the recording, pausing after each sentence to give the students time to underline and circle the relevant sounds.
  • Put students in pairs and have them check together.
  • Play the recording again.
  • Check as a class.

Key: 1. Would you like to go out on Tuesday? 2. Put your new blue shoes on. 3. The fool went into the woods to shoot a wolf. 4. That new food book includes lots of good recipes. 5. Could you two help me pull my boots on? 6. The new group are good at playing blues music.

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Integrating pronunciation in your teaching

Integrating pronunciation in your teaching

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