It figures that one of the first questions I would receive about English has to do with partying.

This word is tricky because it has R and T. But we are going to nail this word in this lesson. So check it out.

Let’s start with R.

For this type of R, relax your tongue at the beginning. Then tense up the tongue and push your tongue in the back of the tongue. It is very important to have your tongue relaxed at the beginning, so take your time to pronounce it.


Let’s move onto T.

You can pronounce “party” with strong T (hard T) but in the US you will hear most of American people soften T to pronounce “party.” Softened T is called Tap T. Alveolar Tap to be specific, or some people call it Flap T. The IPA (International phonetic alphabet) symbol is /ɾ/. Yes, there is a symbol for Tap T. You don’t have to know the name or the symbol. You just need to know how to pronounce it and when you can use Tap T.

So, when can T become Tap T? When there is a vowel before T and another vowel after T, and the vowel after T is not stressed, you can pronounce it with Tap T. For example, “water” and “butter” can be pronounced with Tap T as well as “party.”

To pronounce Tap T, tap your tongue lightly against the alveolar ridge on the roof of the mouth. The alveolar ridge is where the roof of the month curves into the upper teeth. Tap the place without any tension in the tongue and move onto the next vowel smoothly.

In the Youtube video (which is embedded in this post), you will notice I pronounced “go to” with Tap T. “To” is not important (It is a function word, which I will make a separate video “what is a function word?”) and the T is surrounded by vowels. Which means, “to” in “go to” can be pronounced with Tap T.


If you get used to this rule, you will be able to tell when you can use Tap T right away. Also your listening skills will go up because American people use Tap T almost always.


American English pronunciation coach. Studied linguistics at UCLA. Specializing in phonetics, phonology, intonation, and second language acquisition.

She likes music and Toastmasters. Recently she enjoys playing ukulele and hand bells.