Devoicing or Dropping the Last Sound in the Word

The Fourth Most Common Mistake Non-Native English Speakers Make When Speaking English:

Today, I’m going to be talking about Mistake Number Four from the Most Common Mistakes Series that Non-Native English Speakers Make and Essentially that is Devoicing or Dropping the Last Sound into Word. It’s a very common mistake so definitely read on. Mistake Number Four is Dropping or Devoicing the Last Sound in the Word -this means that you either do not pronounce the last sound so you drop it so instead of saying “dog” you’ll say “da” or instead of saying “bad” you say “ba” and you do not make the last or you do not mark that last sound meaning you do not pronounce it which is a big mistake that unfortunately a lot of Non-Native English Speakers make so it is something to be very conscious about when you are speaking English. Besides dropping a sound, you can also devoice meaning instead of pronouncing the last sound as a voiced sound where your vocal folds vibrate. Instead of saying “dog” which is a voiced sound you say it as “dok” which is a sister sound of “g” because “g” and “k” are basically pronounced the same way except for that voicing part and you are going to devoice that part meaning changing the phoneme, changing the sound to another sound so “bad” becomes “bat” , “mad” becomes “mat” because you are devoicing that last sound.

Why is that important?

Here are some of the side effects of Dropping the Last Sound of the Word and Devoicing your sound:

  • Lower Clarity and Articulation is going to be a common side effect with a lot of these mistakes that we talk about because whenever we mispronounce something or we don’t move our mouth enough or we don’t stress the words correctly or really we don’t say things like intended to in English we are going to lower how clear we speak and our articulation is not going to be as clear.
  • You will also Change the Meaning of the Word because if you’re saying “bat” instead of “bad” or “dok” instead of “dog” or “do” instead of “dog” you’re not saying the right sound so the word changes its meaning.
  • Your Intelligibility will be Reduced because when you’re talking and you’re dropping these sounds or you’re devoicing sounds you’re going to be saying incorrect words so then people are going to misunderstand you and there will be communication breakdowns.
  • Communication Breakdowns -the messaging will get lost and what you’re trying to say and how people are understanding you and how they’re going to respond to you if you’re saying something incorrectly.

The Benefits of Pronouncing the Correct Sounds and Marking the Sound. Marking meaning making sure you do say that last sound versus dropping it

  • You will become more intelligible because you’re going to pronounce the sounds correctly
  • You’re going to pronounce them correctly 
  • You will sound less accented because you’re going to be pronouncing the words the way that they’re in tended to be, and
  • There will be no communication breakdown like we keep on talking about because that’s a big thing if you are not exchanging messaging with the way they’re intended to be exchanged. It’s a big deal because you’re constantly communicating with something and now it might be through Zoom which adds on I think another layer of complexity. It makes it a little bit harder because sometimes you know you get glitchy when you’re talking to somebody, you might lose the internet connection, or there might be a delay. So there is already that going against you and on top of that having the communication breakdown of not saying the words correctly adds on another layer of frustration so it’s something to pay attention to very much right now.

How to say the last sound in a word correctly?

Watch the video below to find out how to move your mouth correctly when speaking English. 


  • Practice the /B/ /D/ /G/ voiced sound
  • Place your hand on the throat to feel the vibration when saying the words with voiced sound
  • Practice the 30 sets of words on the video

You did it!

You just finished the Fourth Most Common Mistake that Non-Native English Speakers Make Video Devoicing or Dropping the Last Sound in the Word.


Want to learn more about pronunciation? Listen to this podcast episode:


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