You need schwa if you wannə speak American English

You need schwa if you wannə speak American English

The Schwa Vowel Sound

The Schwa Vowel Sound

If you wanna speak American English in a way that sounds very natural you absolutely MUST use the schwa vowel sound.

Here’s why.


Schwa is a sound.  In fact it’s  the most common sound in American English. It’s the relaxed sound that we use to pronounce the vowels in unstressed syllables.

What does schwa sound like?

The schwa sound is made with your tongue in a relaxed position in the center of your mouth.

It sounds like “uh”.

Let me explain

American English speakers stress one syllable in each word. The vowel sound in the stressed syllable is long and clear.

However, the vowel sounds in the other syllables will not be stressed. In fact, the vowels in the other syllables may be so reduced that they sound like “uh”.

That’s the schwa sound.

What does schwa look like?

If you look in a dictionary, you’ll see the schwa symbol.  It looks like an upside down e.

The schwa symbol looks like this ǝ.

You won’t see the schwa in everyday writing though. That’s because schwa is a sound. It’s not a letter.

Do Americans know about schwa?

The average American has no idea that the schwa sound exists, even though they use this sound in almost every word.

That’s why your American friends, colleagues or even your English teacher never told you about it.

Why you need to understand schwa

If you don’t use the schwa sound:

  • you’ll over pronounce many syllables and your words will be difficult to understand
  • you’ll over pronounce many smaller words and your speech will sound unnatural

When you over pronounce syllables and smaller words, your speech will sound choppy. You’ll speak with a rhythm that sounds unfamiliar to Americans.

You don’t want to say each vowel clearly! That’ll make your speech sound foreign.

Schwa sound examples

Below I’ve written 5 words using the schwa symbol where you should use that sound.

  1. prənounce
  2. Amerəcən
  3. Engləsh
  4. cərrectly
  5. cəmmunəcate

Listen here



The schwa sound is the most common vowel sound in English. Any vowel can sound like a schwa when it occurs in an unstressed syllable or word.

Using this sound will allow you to speak with increased clarity and the correct rhythm of American English.

I’ll show you how to use schwa!

I teach you how to use the schwa vowel sound so that you can speak beautiful, professional sounding American English in all of my American accent training programs.

Join others who’ve invested in their spoken American English skills. Start using the schwa sound so that you can speak with clarity and rhythm of real American English.