Ooo, that looks dangerous! Be careful! Learn how to say this phrase comfortably in conversational English: what words or syllables to reduce, how to link everything together, and the melodic shape of the phrase.

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In this American English pronunciation video, we’re going to study the pronunciation of the phrase: Be careful.

This is part of a sentence study series, where we look at a short, common phrase, and discuss its pronunciation. First let’s look at it up close and in slow motion.

Let’s look at the stress. da-DA-da, be careful. This is a three-syllable phrase with stress on the middle syllable. Click here to see the video I made on three-syllable phrases, or see the link in the description.

We start with the B consonant, so the lips are together, and we’re voicing it, bb, bb. Then they part and we have the EE vowel. The jaw doesn’t really need to drop for that, and the corners of the lips might pull a little wide, ee, be, be. The tongue tip is here, touching the back of the bottom front teeth. Next we have the K consonant sound. To transition into that, simply shift the back of the tongue to the soft palate, Be c-. Care-, -care. Then we’ll release into the EH as in BED vowel. The vowel followed by the schwa/R sound here. The jaw will drop a good bit for this vowel, especially when it’s in a stressed syllable. Ca-, ca-, -care. The tongue tip is forward, touching the back of the bottom front teeth, but then it starts to pull back for the schwa/R sound. So for the R, the tongue is pulled back so it’s fatter, and the tip isn’t touching anything. The tongue will touch the roof of the mouth, or maybe the teeth, about here. Care-. This is our stressed syllable, so it will be longer, and have that up/down shape of the voice. Care-, care-, careful. Now we have the F so the bottom lip will come up and make contact with the top front teeth, caref-, ff. The tongue will come back down again for that sound. So it pulls back and moves forward again, it’s a quick motion to make that R. Caref-. Now we have the schwa/Dark L sound. You can really get by with just make the Dark sound, that’s what most Americans do. So, let your lip relax down from the F. Keep your tongue tip where it is, and pull the back part of the tongue back, uhl, to make that dark sound, -ful, -ful. You don’t need to bring the tongue tip up, just leave it down. Careful, careful. Be careful! da-DA-da, be careful.

Let’s watch one more time in slow motion.

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This video is part of a series. Click here to see other videos just like it. If you have a phrase you’d like to suggest for this series, please put it in the comments.That’s it, and thanks so much for using Rachel’s English.