How to pronounce “th”

For THIN /θɪn/

  1. Put the tip of your tongue slightly out between your upper teeth.
  2. Put your hand on your larynx (in a sec we’ll see why).
  3. Practice just passing the air current and saying “ssssss”. Since this sound is voiceless, you should not feel vibrations on your hand.
  4. Now, while still “biting” your tongue say /t/. You’ll hear a mixture of /s/ and /t/. Repeat, but make sure there are no vibrations.
  5. Congratulations, that was /θ/.

For THE /ðə/

All as above, EXCEPT:

  • Practice first with /z/.
  • Pronounce /d/ and, very important:
  • You should feel the vibrations, because this sound has a lot of energy.
  • That was /ð/!

This is my reply to a question on English Language & Usage on Stackexchange. I hope it might help other people.

Create Grammar Tests Online

If you wish to create a grammar test online for free and share it with everybody, you can do it on Jotpub. It’s one of the features I built-in the website. Here is how to make a test, download it as PDF and share a link (to your students or other people interested).

Insert questions and answers in your grammar test

  1. First, register here. I have simplified the process. It’s really necessary so you can have proper credits and edit the test, and for me to fight spammers and copyright breachers.
  2. Then, go to Create page and fill in the info about the test. That includes Title, Description, Instructions, and Tags. These are all important, but I won’t go into details why. Categories is something I will add as an editor, because these items are predefined in the system.
  3. Finally, add some questions and answers! You can insert: Fill-in-the-blanks, True/False, Multiple with single correct and Multiple with several correct answers. The page is half-automated and I believe you will have no problems in figuring how to add and remove questions and answers. Here is a bit more help about the test creation.
  4. Of course, save your test!

Check and edit your language quiz

Interface for questions an answers
An English grammar test, as seen in an online test editor

Once your grammar test is saved and created, test is yourself: you have to do this in order to verify that your answers match your questions (that there are no mistakes). If you notice an error, just edit the test. Do this by going to About and then clicking on Edit this test (only authors and editors can modify). After you solve the error-free test yourself, distribute it to other language learners.

Distribute your grammar test link and PDF

You can now share your little language exam with other people. Visitors do not have to be registered to solve the test or see the results. As for the PDF, guess what, every test has its PDF version created automatically! Just click on Get the PDF link on the top of the page, or search for the link at the bottom.

Oh, did I mention already that this is all for free and without pesky ads?


Visual Understanding Environment – Free mind mapping for your brainstorming

If you like to represent your thoughts, project or plans in the form of logical maps and flowcharts – VUE is just for you. This is a free program that all students, academic workers, CEOs, managers, writers and others will learn to appreciate, thanks to its simple use and powerful options, including fully fledged presentation mode (yes, no need for Power Point!).

Visual Understanding Environment is created by Tufts University as “a concept and content mapping application, developed to support teaching, learning and research and for anyone who needs to organize, contextualize, and access digital information”. They succeeded in making a Java-based program that runs on most operating systems and allows great creativity in brainstorming and visual organisation of material.


With VUE you can:

  • Make mind maps and charts
  • Format easily and annotate items
  • Use layers
  • Analyse charts
  • Add semantic relations
  • Share your work
  • Export in several image formats and PDF (the latter is usually available only in commercial apps)
  • Map the content dynamically and use “outside” sources
  • Make presentations
Visual Understanding Environment chart sample
Speech production process "mapped" in VUE (Adapted from Lever)

This just a beginning, and for the full list of the features visit the VUE feature page. What we particularly like and wish to mention here is the “presentation mode”: by creating “pathways” (the order in which nods/items are trigged) users can “replay” the path in full screen. This, together with annotations allows seamless presentations, just like in the Power Point. Even without annotations and keywords users can have rudimentary presentations.

Other mindmapping software

We discovered VUE just recently. For some time we used XMind, but we did not like it because it requires paid version for some usable export options. The chance was then given to FreeMind, also a very good application, but we did not like the interface. Office applications not being suitable for mind maps we ventured into Wikipedia discovery – and found VUE.

The VUE homepage lists many tutorials, and that is where you can download this great program.