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T (letter)

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T, t is a letter of the Latin alphabet. It is the twentieth letter of most variants, being placed after S and before U, as is the case for instance in the English alphabet. Its English name is pronounced [ˈtiː], like the words tee and tea.

Use in English

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Use in English
Alphabetical word list
Retroalphabetical list  
Common misspellings  

t is a dental stop, tongue on teeth, often aspirated: típ, tòngue, têeth, ápt, àrt, sét, bét, bétter, ténse, têacher, to preposition = toô many, also = tŵo number.

  • The accents show stress and pronunciation (see English spellings): A: sát, mâde, pàrk, cāst (cást/càst), åll, ãir; E: ére, êar, vèin, fërn; I: sít, mîne, skì, bïrd; O: sóng, môde, lòve, wörd, ŏr; OO: moôn, foòt; U: sún, mûse, fùll, pürr; W: neŵ, ẁant; Y: gým, mŷ, keỳ, mÿrrh.

It is doubled in the middle of words to maintain the short sound of the preceding vowel: bétter, hítting (cf. hít), knítted (cf. knít), knótty, bóttom, ótter, bútter, fítter, and at the end, usually in names, Knótt (= knót tie, nót negative) and Ẁatt, from which name is derived ẁatt electricity (= BrE ẁhat whatever). A word with optional double t is tàrget(t)ed.

t begins consonant clusters: cútback, cátkin, chŏrtle, Wéstminster, trêe, stétson, outwŏrn and also as th: thrôw, thwáck.

th

th has two regular pronunciations. The position of the tongue - right under the upper teeth - is identical, but the voiced th hums, while the unvoiced lisps.

Voiced th: the/thê (schwa before a following consonant, ê before a following vowel), thís, thát, thére, thén, òther, brêathe, lāther, hêathen (cf. héaven), bròther, wíth, wíthered, thús.

Final e voices the preceding th: wrîthe, soôthe, lâthe, Blŷthe, Smŷthe (but names can leave out the e: Blŷth, Smŷth).

The e can affect the vowel too, changing bāth noun (unvoiced) to bâthe verb (voiced).

The Irish language, logically, spells the voiced th sound dh, but in English this spelling is used only in Rìyadh and the alternative version of éth: édh; otherwise dh is accidental as in adhêsive - the two letters are pronounced separately: adhêre sounds like a weak ádd hêre.

Unvoiced th occurs at the end of words: déath, bôth, bāth, pāth, dòth, bréath (noun, cf. voiced th in the verb brêathe); but the common preposition wíth has the voiced sound.

In èighth, th is pronounced as if spelt -tth, *èightth, though the first t sound is often reduced to a glottal stop.

Initially: thínk, thought, thátch, throûgh, thòrough (BrE -rə, AmE -), thíck, thánk, Thürber, Theroûx (-rû), thíng, and in nòthing, éverything, etc.

In some cases unvoiced th becomes voiced before a plural s: in bāth, th is unvoiced, bāths it is voiced: -dhz.

th can occur accidentally; the two letters are pronounced separately with their usual sound: hóthòuse (hót-), fáthéad (fát-).

The h is often redundant, for example in Thames *Témz, in Ánthony, which can be spelt as it is often pronounced, Ántony, and in Kathmandû, which begins cát. Also it is redundant in some examples of names in –tham, for examples Éltham, Féltham, Véltham and for some speakers in Wítham, but not in Bôtham, which has the unvoiced th sound. An irregular example is Wrotham, pronounced *Rûtəm.

ti

ti is pronounced 'sh', IPA [ʃ], before a vowel in certain endings: nâtion, rátion, râtio, Croâtia, fráctious, pâtient (cf. same sound in grâcious). In Kíribàti, however, the final ti is pronounced as a hiss, *Kíribàs, a corruption of Gílberts, as the islands were once known. equâtion is pronounced by many speakers with the zh sound, as if spelt *equâsion (*equâzhən), rhyming with invâsion (*invâzhən).

Silent t

t is silent in a number of words, usually after s, typically before -le: hústle, bústle, rústle, néstle, jóstle, whístle, grístle, Neŵcastle, wréstle, cāstle, or before -en: lísten, hâsten, châsten, and without the e in mústn’t.

Most speakers do not pronounce the t in óften or Chrístmas, and it is usually absent from lístless and réstless.

Final t is silent in many French words: bùffèt, chálèt, cáchèt, tárôt, Màrgot and crôchèt (*crôashay, cf. crótchet, where it is pronounced) - and English has adapted the French spelling of Tchaikóvsky, with its redundant T.

pt is pronounced as t alone at the beginning of a few words: ptérodactyl, Ptólemy, ptàrmigan.

In tsunàmi and tsétsê it makes little difference whether or not one attempts to pronounce the initial t.

In parts of Ireland the name Câitlín is pronounced the same as its anglicized spelling Káthlêen. Other Irish dialects pronounce th the same as t, while many English people pronounce the name as Kâte-lynn.

Scientific uses

  • T: temperature
  • t: time