Why ‘riding’ and ‘writing’ sound EXACTLY the same?

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How is it possible that different words such as ‘rider’ and ‘writer’ sound absolutely the same in American English?*
After all, the consonants in the words are very different: T and D.
But here’s the thing –
When speaking with an American accent T’s and D’s that appear between two vowels (in unstressed syllables) are pronounced as light ‘flaps’, which means that the tongue barely touches the upper palate.
And although these are two different consonants, they sound exactly the same.
In fact, it touches so lightly that it sounds more like an /r/ in Spanish (as in the word ‘pero’) than a T or D. They’re called flap t/flap d.

Watch the video to learn more about how to pronounce the flap T/D:


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Here are more word pairs that sound EXACTLY the same:

Metal- Medal
At it – add it
coating- coding

If you want to practice more words and get a FREE audio practice, CLICK HERE

* Many native speakers pronounce the vowel before the D consonant a little longer, so some may claim that there IS a difference between both words. However, the way I see (and hear) it, the distinction is so subtle for non-native speakers (and even for native speakers) that I deliberately don’t address it in my explanation as it adds more confusion. We will treat both words as if they’re pronounced the same.

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7 Comments on “Why ‘riding’ and ‘writing’ sound EXACTLY the same?”

  1. On what fking planet do these pairings sound the same to your ears?

    You need to hang out with people who enunciate properly. When pronounced correctly, the pairs sound unmistakably different even to ESL students

  2. Hi Hadar, I want to thank you for all useful videos! It’s very helpful for me to get rid of my accent. By the way, could you upload another version, I mean not using youtube which is blocked in my country. Thanks a lot!

  3. Why I didn’t get an adio in your second email like first email
    please Hadar it was very helpful
    I’m waiting for your adios

  4. You’re missing the link in “If you want to practice more words and get a FREE audio practice, CLICK HERE”
    CLICK HERE is just text, not a link (although the banner GET PRATICE is right up there and working)
    I just wanted to point that out, in case you mind.

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