Tongue Twisters So Good, Your Mouth May Never Be the Same

Tons of fun and tough to get right, these tongue twisters can help with fluency and pronunciation.

Did you know that tongue twisters date back to the early 19th century? It all started when a guy named John Harris published Peter Piper's Practical Principles of Plain and Perfect Pronunciation. The text included a rapid little riddle for every letter of the alphabet and was intended to help children learn the mechanics of speech precision. Almost 200 years later, these mind-bogglers have made their way into the Guinness Book of World Records and even inspired a documentary directed by cinematic legend Werner Hertzog. And, maybe more importantly, they're still used to help kids—and adults learning English as a second language—nail down their pronunciation. Below, we've collected some of the best tongue twisters around. We've even outlined the classics that helped kick the whole thing off.

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80 English Tongue Twisters Sure to Make You Stumble

Share the tongue twisters below with friends, family, students, and more. See how many the group can get through. Remember that these aren't supposed to be easy, so go slowly at first. Feel free to make mistakes and start again as needed!

Short Tongue Twisters

little boy shrugging his shoulders looking confused
Shutterstock / Nolte Lourens
  1. Truly rural.
  2. Six sticky skeletons.
  3. An ape hates grape cakes.
  4. He threw three free throws.
  5. Four fine fresh fish for you.
  6. Zebra zig and zebra zag.
  7. Red lorry, yellow lorry.
  8. Eleven benevolent elephants.
  9. A snake sneaks to seek a snack.
  10. Six Czech cricket critics.
  11. Billy Bob blabbered boldly.
  12. Really leery, rarely Larry.
  13. He threw three free throws.
  14. Selfish shellfish.
  15. Ed had edited it.
  16. Sheena leads, Sheila needs.
  17. Scissors sizzle, thistles sizzle.
  18. Thirty-three thousand feathers on a thrushes throat.
  19. Which wrist watches are Swiss wrist watches?

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Easy Tongue Twisters for Kids

woman looking confused
Shutterstock / Cast Of Thousands
  1. Fred fed Ted bread, and Ted fed Fred bread.
  2. If a dog chews shoes, whose shoes does he choose?
  3. Kitty caught the kitten eating chicken in the kitchen.
  4. Six sleek swans swam swiftly southwards.
  5. A tricky frisky snake with sixty super scaly stripes.
  6. Eleven owls licked eleven little licorice lollipops.
  7. Give papa a cup of proper coffee in a copper coffee cup.
  8. A big black bug bit a big black dog on his big black nose.
  9. A synonym for cinnamon is a cinnamon synonym.
  10. Six slippery snails slid slowly seaward.
  11. Nine nice night nurses nursing nicely.
  12. Each Easter Eddie eats eighty Easter eggs.
  13. These thousand tricky tongue twisters trip thrillingly off the tongue.
  14. Round the rough and rugged rock the ragged rascal rudely ran.

Famous Tongue Twisters

couple looking intimidated over a difficult tongue twister
Shutterstock / Krakenimages.com
  1. Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers. A peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper picked. If Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers, how many pickled peppers did Peter Piper pick?
  2. Fuzzy Wuzzy was a bear. Fuzzy Wuzzy had no hair. Fuzzy Wuzzy wasn't very fuzzy, was he?
  3. Which witch is which?
  4. A sailor went to sea to see what he could see. And all he could see was sea, sea, sea.
  5. Susie works in a shoeshine shop. Where she shines she sits, and where she sits she shines.
  6. You know New York, you need New York, you know you need unique New York.
  7. I have got a date at a quarter to eight; I'll see you at the gate, so don't be late.
  8. I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream.
  9. She sells seashells by the seashore.
  10. How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood? He would chuck, he would, as much as he could, and chuck as much wood, as a woodchuck would, if a woodchuck could chuck wood.

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Long Tongue Twisters

girl with hands on her head and tongue twisted
Shutterstock / Krakenimages.com
  1. Betty Botter bought some butter, but she said the butter's bitter. If I put it in my batter, it will make my batter bitter. But a bit of better butter will make my bitter batter better. So she bought some better butter, better than the bitter butter, put it in her bitter batter, and made her bitter batter better. So it was better Betty Botter bought some better butter!
  2. Silly Sally swiftly shooed seven silly sheep. The seven silly sheep Silly Sally shooed shilly-shallied south. These sheep shouldn't sleep in a shack; sheep should sleep in a shed!
  3. To sit in solemn silence in a dull, dark dock in a pestilential prison with a life-long lock, awaiting the sensation of a short, sharp shock from a cheap and chippy chopper on a big, black block!
  4. Luke Luck likes lakes. Luke's duck likes lakes. Luke Luck licks lakes. Luck's duck licks lakes. Duck takes licks in lakes Luke Luck likes. Luke Luck takes licks in lakes duck likes!
  5. When a doctor doctors a doctor, does the doctor doing the doctoring doctor as the doctor being doctored wants to be doctored, or does the doctor doing the doctoring doctor as he wants to doctor?
  6. Yellow butter, purple jelly, red jam, black bread. Spread it thick, say it quick! Yellow butter, purple jelly, red jam, black bread. Spread it thicker, say it quicker! Yellow butter, purple jelly, red jam, black bread. Don't eat with your mouth full!
  7. As he gobbled the cakes on his plate, the greedy ape said as he ate: The greener green grapes are, the keener keen apes are to gobble green grape cakes. They're great!
  8. All I want is a proper cup of coffee made in a proper copper coffee pot, you can believe it or not. But I want a cup of coffee from a proper copper pot. Tin coffee pots or iron coffee pots, they're not good for me. If I can't have a proper cup of coffee from a proper copper coffee pot, I'll just have tea. All I want is a proper cup of coffee. Made in a proper copper coffee pot. You can believe it or not. But I want a cup of coffee from a proper copper pot!

Funny Tongue Twisters

little girl resting her hand in her chin
Shutterstock / Asier Romero
  1. I slit the sheet, the sheet I slit, and on the slitted sheet I sit.
  2. If you must cross a coarse cross cow across a crowded cow crossing, cross the cross coarse cow across the crowded cow crossing carefully.
  3. A skunk sat on a stump and thunk the stump stunk, but the stump thunk the skunk stunk.
  4. Freshly fried fresh flesh.
  5. A tutor who tooted the flute tried to teach two young tooters to toot. Said the two to the tutor: Is it harder to toot, or to tutor two tooters to toot?
  6. I looked right at Larry's rally and left in a hurry.
  7. "Surely Sylvia swims!" shrieked Sammy surprised. "Someone should show Sylvia some strokes so she shall not sink."
  8. Rubber baby buggy bumpers.
  9. Thirty-three thirsty, thundering thoroughbreds thumped Mr. Thurber on Thursday.
  10. Bouncing bed bugs borrowed blankets.
  11. Denise sees the fleece, Denise sees the fleas. At least Denise could sneeze and feed and freeze the fleas.
  12. A shapeless sash sags slowly.
  13. Rory the warrior and Roger the worrier were reared wrongly in a rural brewery.
  14. Four furious friends fought for the phone.
  15. Birdie birdie in the sky laid a turdie in my eye.
  16. Does a pessimistic pest exist amidst us?
  17. Any noise annoys an oyster, but a noisy noise annoys an oyster most.

Hard Tongue Twisters

man looking confused
Shutterstock / Roman Samborskyi
  1. The sixth sick sheik's sixth sheep's sick.
  2. Pad kid poured curd-pulled cod.
  3. How can a clam cram in a clean cream can?
  4. Send toast to ten tense stout saints' ten tall tents.
  5. Can you can a canned can into an un-canned can like a canner can can a canned can into an un-canned can?
  6. The thirty-three thieves thought that they thrilled the throne throughout Thursday.
  7. Brisk brave brigadiers brandished broad bright blades, blunderbusses, and bludgeons balancing them badly.
  8. I wish to wish the wish you wish to wish, but if you wish the wish the witch wishes, I won't wish the wish you wish to wish.
  9. Six sick hicks nick six slick bricks with picks and sticks.
  10. English can be understood through tough thorough thought, though.
  11. Imagine an imaginary menagerie manager managing an imaginary menagerie.

FAQ

What is a tongue twister?

A tongue twister is defined by a sequence of words or sounds that often have an alliterative quality. These expressions are designed to be difficult to pronounce, especially when recited quickly.

What do people use tongue twisters for?

Many educators use tongue twisters for kids when reinforcing reading skills. These expressions provide opportunities for children to exercise certain muscles in the mouth and practice their pronunciation. Individuals who teach English as a second language also use these expressions to help students increase fluency.

How can I get better at tongue twisters?

Experts have offered up the following tips to help you recite tongue twisters:

  • Start slow and get familiar with the phrases
  • Repeat often
  • Rehearse problem areas
  • Focus on your articulation
  • Identify helpful mouth positions

Wrapping Up

That's it for our list of tongue twisters. Be sure to check back with us soon for more material to share with the ones you love. You can also sign up for our newsletter so you don't miss out on what's coming next!

Carrie Weisman
Carrie Weisman oversees all SEO efforts at Best Life. She specializes in content optimization and editorial marketing. Read more
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