Speaking Day 18: Opinions and intrusive sounds (/r/)

Live session: We practised the linking ‘r’ today in the live session

bear with

The intrusive ‘r’ (interesting short article).

Tim’s Workshop Intrusive ‘r’ (video – Law and Order).

Tim’s Workshop Linking ‘r’ (video – War and Peace).


The language you need: #3 Adverbs and Opinions

Do you think people should have to pay to visit these historic buildings?

  1. Personally, I don’t think the entry fee should be free.
  2. Obviously, old buildings cost a lot of money to maintain.
  3. Surprisingly, evidence suggests that most people would happily pay.
  4. Generally, the government subsidizes entry fees where possible.
  5. Inevitably, some people complain about the price.
  6. Frankly/To be honest, I don’t believe people should have to pay.
  7. Unfortunately, places with the most visitors get the most attention.
  8. Sadly, I don’t think most people would be willing to pay.

Do you think the government (i.e. taxpayers) should pay for this or should the visitors pay for it?


  • As far as I’m concerned
  • It seems to me that
  • I can’t help thinking that…
  • I strongly believe that…
  • In my view
  • My view is that..
  • I tend to think that…
  • I suppose…
  • I guess…
  • I’m sure

Features of Connected Speech: Adding sounds

Linking ‘r’

When the ‘r’ at the end of a word comes before a vowel sound, it is pronounced to make the link easier e.g.

See you later! (no ‘r’) | ˈsi: ju ˈleɪtə |

See you later on (with ‘r’) |ˈsi: ju ˈleɪtər ɒn |

You can hear an ‘intrusive r’ in phrases like this:

ear ache, far away, four eggs, more eggs, before eight.

Look at the adjectives below (useful for Writing and Speaking!).

When is the ‘r’ in ‘over’ pronounced, do you think? Group A or Group B?

Group A






Group B






Mark the linking ‘r’ sounds in these sentences:

1. Are you going anywhere over Easter this year?

2. As a matter of fact we are. We’re off on a tour of Italy for a week.

3. Where exactly will you be going?

4. Here and there. We’re open to suggestions.

5. Are you going by bus?

6. No, by car and train.

7. When you’re in Rome, you must remember to throw a coin over your shoulder into the Trevi fountain.

8. It means that sooner or later, your’re sure to return.

Audio answers on the way.

Intrusive (Extra) ‘r’

In fast speech, if a word ends in an /ɔː/ sound, like ‘saw’ or ‘law’ and the next word begins in a schwa /ə/, you’ll often hear a /r/ sound linking them together.  For example:

  • I saw a movie –> I saw ra movie
  • Law and order –> Law rand order (watch this video clip to hear this sound)

It also happens between a word-final schwa /ə/spelled with an ‘a’  (e.g. China, Lisa, America) and a new word beginning with a vowel sound.

  • Tuna oil –> Tuna roil
  • Victoria and Albert museum –> Victoria rand Albert museum
  • China and Russia –>China rand Russia
  • Africa and Asia -> Africa rand Asia
  • a media event -> a media revent
  • data analysis -> data ranalysis

The problems with ‘r’

    There are 3 main problems with ‘r’.

    1. In the UK, ‘r’ is usually SILENT AFTER A VOWEL, but most learners pronounce it strongly e.g. / tiːtʃə/ (schwa sound at the end) is often pronounced / ˈtiːtʃer/*.

    This ‘silent r’ is NOT silent before a vowel e.g. See you later (ˈleɪtə) vs See you later on (-> later ron)

    2. In the US (and parts of the UK), the ‘r’ is NOT silent after a vowel, but it is usually a soft, gentle ‘r’, and not the full ‘rolling’ ‘rrrrrrr’. 

    3. The /r/ sound is very difficult to produce.

    The tip of the tongue curls back slightly in the roof of the mouth, just behind the alveolar ridge, and the breath squeezes past whilst the tongue is still and not vibrating.

    If you have problems with the /r/ sound, spend some time focusing on it.

    Here’s a good ‘EngVid’ explanation and practice video (20 mins).

    This is another good EngVid video to practise with (17 mins).

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