Tongue twisters are a sequence of words that are difficult to pronounce correctly when spoken quickly.
It can be fun to watch people mispronounce words in weird ways while speaking tongue twisters fast, but more importantly they can be used to improve pronunciation, especially to remedy vowel and consonant problems in speech. They’re also used by speakers, voiceover artists, actors, and many more to warmup their vocal cords before an important speaking engagement.
Few things to note about how to speak tongue twisters:
- Say them fast. The faster, the better. If you say slowly, you can say the most difficult tongue twister in the world without fumbling. Right?
- If you struggle with a particular tongue twister, go for articulation over speed. Once you can say it correctly, increase the speed gradually. Saying tongue twisters fast without accuracy is waste of time.
- If the tongue twister is short – a short sentence comprising of few words – repeat it at least thrice in quick succession.
Change of sound can make a tongue twister hard to articulate
A tongue twister usually has at least few words starting with the same letter, but not necessarily the same sound. For example, the tongue twister Mrs. Smith’s fish sauce shop contains three words starting with ‘s’ but only one (shop) has ‘sh’ sound. Such tongue twisters, where one has to change the sound while speaking, can be challenging to articulate. Compare this with Shameless shepherds shampoo shy sheep. It has the same sound (‘sh’) throughout, which makes it easier to articulate.
That’s not the only factor though that makes a tongue twister hard to say.
How is tongue twister different from alliteration?
Some confuse tongue twisters with alliterations – and rightly so because they overlap to some extent. But alliteration is quite different from tongue twister.
An alliteration is a figurative language in which two or more consecutive words, usually but not always, start with the same consonant sound. Tongue twisters sometimes alliterate, implying they contain words with the same consonant sound. But sometimes they don’t.
Moreover, the two are functionally different. Whereas tongue twisters improve pronunciation and are a fun activity, alliterations are a tool to make writing expressive and memorable.
Without further ado, here is a list of more than 250 tongue twisters, arranged alphabetically under two categories – short and long. They’ve also been categorized as easy and hard, with the hard ones highlighted with the superscript [H] at the end of the tongue twister.
Short tongue twisters
1. A batter, a banana, and a bandana
2. A big black bear sat on a big black rug.
3. A box of biscuits, a box of mixed biscuits, and a biscuit mixer [H]
4. A dozen dim ding-dongs
5. A gentle judge judges justly.
6. A herd of happy hippos had hiccups
7. A knapsack strap
8. Alice asks for axes.
9. A loyal warrior will rarely worry why we rule.
10. Aluminum, linoleum [H]
11. An elephant was asphyxiated in the asphalt.
12. Angels hang ancient anchors at angles that anger ogres.
13. Ann and Andy’s anniversary is in April.
14. A noise annoys an oyster, but a noisy noise annoys an oyster more.
15. Ape cakes, grape cakes [H]
16. A pessimistic pest exists amidst us.
17. A proper cup of coffee from a proper copper coffee pot [H]
18. A real rare whale
19. Are our oars okay?
20. A slimy snake slithered down the sandy Sahara.
21. Ava ate eighty eggs.
22. Avery’s army’s armory [H]
23. Bake big batches of bitter brown bread.
24. Beautiful butterflies flutter by.
25. Big B-52 bombers
26. Bill built a big brick building. [H]
27. Black back bat
28. Black background, brown background [H]
29. Blue glue gun, green glue gun [H]
30. Bob bought a bleached blue-beaded blazer. [H]
31. Carl called Claude. [H]
32. Carol quarreled.
33. Cheap sheep soup
34. Chip’s ship sank.
35. Cheap ship trip
36. Clowns grow glowing crowns. [H]
37. Crazy clown’s crown [H]
38. Crisp crust crackles [H]
39. Crush grapes, grapes crush, crush grapes [H]
40. Curt carved curves.
41. Dave’s dogs dig deep ditches.
42. Deer’s ears hear clear cheers. [H]
43. Disgruntled dishwashers don’t wash dishes.
44. Does this shop stock short silk shorts? [H]
45. Do thick tinkers think? [H]
46. Drooling dogs drink daily. [H]
47. Each Easter Eddie eats eighty Easter eggs.
48. Eddie edited it.
49. Edgar at eight ate eight eggs a day. [H]
50. Eight apes ate Nate’s tape.
51. Eighteen apes ate eighteen apricots.
52. Eleven benevolent elephants
53. Eleven little leather loafers
54. Ex-disk jockey
55. Exercise instructors instruct struggling exercisers to exercise strongly.
56. Extinct insect’s instincts, extant insect’s instincts. [H]
57. Father’s feathers fell from the fourth shelf.
58. Fifteen filthy flying foxes
59. Fine fresh fodder
60. Five fat frogs fled from fifty fierce fish.
61. Flash message
62. Flawless porcelain flasks
63. For fine fresh fish, phone Phil.
64. Four fine fresh fish for you
65. Four fliers flip-flop
66. Frank flunked French.
67. Friendly fleas and fireflies
68. Funny feline feeling fine
69. Garfield dunks doughnuts daily.
70. Gig whip
71. Goats and ghosts
72. Good blood, bad blood
73. Great grape growers grow great grapes. [H]
74. Greek grapes
75. Has Hal’s heel healed?
76. He threw three free throws.
77. Hiccup teacup
78. High roller, low roller, lower a roller
79. How can a clam cram in a clean cream can? [H]
80. How high would a horsefly fly if a horsefly would fly high?
81. Hurry, Harry!
82. If a dog chews shoes, whose shoes does he choose? [H]
83. If he slipped, should she slip?
84. Insects, six insects, six sick insects
85. I saw a kitten eating chicken in the kitchen.
86. It is so chilly. The silly child should soon shut the shutters. [H]
87. I wish for a dish of delicious fish.
88. I wish to wash my Irish wristwatch.
89. Jim jogs in the gym. Jane jogs in the jungle. [H]
90. Katy caught the kitten in the kitchen.
91. Keenly cleaning copper kettles
92. King Kong plays Ping-Pong.
93. Kirk’s starched shirts
94. Knee deep, deep knee [H]
95. Lily little lit a little lamp. [H]
96. Literally literary [H]
97. Liz left the lazy lizard in the loft.
98. Luminous aluminum
99. Mr. Melton made a metal motor.
100. Mr. Spink thinks the sphinx stinks. [H]
101. Mrs. Smith’s fish sauce shop [H]
102. Much mashed mushrooms
103. My mommy makes me muffins on Mondays.
104. New cheese, blue cheese, chew cheese please
105. Nine nimble noblemen nibbled nuts.
106. Nineteen nice knights
107. No shark shares swordfish steak.
108. Old Howell owned a house on which old owls howled.
109. Once really wet red whale
110. Pale pink plumage
111. Peggy Babcock’s mummy
112. Penny penned a pretty poem.
113. Pick a purple pocket.
114. Plain bun, plum bun [H]
115. Please pay promptly.
116. Please prune plum trees promptly. [H]
117. Poor pure Pierre
118. Prate’s private property
119. Pre-shrunk silk skirts
120. Pretty poor peace prospects
121. Quakes cause cracks.
122. Ray’s runway runs one way. [H]
123. Real rear wheels
124. Real wristwatch straps
125. Red blood, green blood
126. Red bug’s blood, bed bug’s blood [H]
127. Red lorry, yellow lorry
128. Rival river runners rode the wild river.
129. Rough rural roads
130. Sad skunk
131. Santa’s sleigh slides on slick snow.
132. Sarah slurped soda through straight, striped soda straws.
133. Scams, stings, and skullduggery
134. Shallow sailing ships should shun shallow shoals. [H]
135. Shameless shepherds shampoo shy sheep.
136. Sharon sewed six shiny suits. [H]
137. Sharp shark-skin shoes
138. Sharpshooters should shoot slowly.
139. She had shoulder surgery.
140. She sees cheese. [H]
141. She sells seashells by the seashore. [H]
142. She sells Swiss sweets.
143. She shrieks as she stiches sheets.
144. Shoes and socks shock Susan. [H]
145. Short swords
146. Shredded Swiss cheese
147. Six crisp snacks
148. Six quick sneezes
149. Six sick shorn sheep [H]
150. Six small slick seals
151. Six smart sharp sharks
152. Six sticks stacked in six stacks
153. Sixteen slim, silky slippers
154. Sixty-six sticky skeletons
155. Slick silk [H]
156. Slithering snakes slither silently.
157. Sloppy skiers slide on slick ski slopes.
158. Soft, smooth snake skin
159. Some shun summer sunshine. [H]
160. Stacks of salty snacks make Sam slurp and smack.
161. Stan stopped stealing Sam’s stamps.
162. Steven Stanley sees seven stars.
163. Strange strategic statistics
164. Stupid superstition
165. Such a shapeless sash
166. Surely the sun shall shine soon. [H]
167. Suzie’s sister saw some scissors Suzie set on her sofa.
168. Swatch watch
169. Sweater weather, leather weather
170. Swift shift
171. Switch watch, wrist watch
172. Ted sent Stan ten tents. [H]
173. Ted threw Fred thirty-three free throws.
174. Ten tiny turtles sitting on a tiny tin tub turned tan.
175. The boy blinked at the blank bank blackboard. [H]
176. The cat catchers can’t catch caught cats.
177. The fickle finger of fate flips fat frogs flat. [H]
178. The flood flooded Frank’s floor.
179. The flurry fly flitted from flower to flower.
180. The fuzzy bee buzzed the buzzy busy beehive. [H]
181. The glum groom grew glummer. [H]
182. The king would sing about a ring that would go ding.
183. Thelma sings the theme song.
184. The minx mixed a medicine mixture.
185. The plum pickers plucked the plump plums. [H]
186. There goes one tough top cop.
187. There was a minimum of cinnamon in the aluminum pan.
188. The sad soldier should shoot soon. [H]
189. The short soldier shoots straight. [H]
190. The sinking steamer sank.
191. The slithering snake slid sneakily through the silky grass.
192. The sun shines on the shop signs. [H]
193. The tailor’s tactics took twice the time.
194. The throne was frozen. It was a frozen throne.
195. The two-twenty-two train tore through the tunnel.
196. The vicious visitors visited the virtual village.
197. Thin sticks, thick bricks
198. Thirteen drummers thumping drums
199. Thirty-three sly shy thrushes
200. This disk sticks.
201. Three thick things
202. Toni throws three free throws.
203. Tricky crickets
204. Truly rural
205. Tuesday is stew day. Stew day is Tuesday.
206. Twelve tiny thread tweezers
207. Twenty tender tree stumps
208. Two ticket takers took a taxi.
209. Two witches were watching two watches.
210. Under the mother otter, uttered the other otter.
211. Valuable valley villas
212. Velvet Revolver
213. War-weary warriors
214. Wayne went to Wales to watch walruses.
215. When the computer crashed, the class gasped.
216. Which is the witch that wished the wicked wish? [H]
217. White wings, round rings
218. Which wristwatches are Swiss wristwatches?
219. Will you, William?
220. World Wide Web
221. Yellow leather, red feather
Long tongue twisters
222. A big black bat flew past. A big brown bat flew past. Did the big black bat fly past faster than the big brown bat flew past? [H]
223. An oyster met an oyster, and they were oysters two. Two oysters met two oysters, and they were oysters, too. Four oysters met a pint of milk and they were oyster stew.
224. An undertaker undertook to undertake an undertaking. The undertaking that the undertaker undertook was the hardest undertaking the undertaker ever undertook to undertake.
225. Betty bought a bit of butter. But the butter Betty bought was bitter. So, Betty bought a better butter, and it was better than the butter Betty bought before. [H]
226. Bill had a billboard. Bill also had a board bill. The billboard bored Bill so Bill sold the billboard to pay for the board bill.
227. Billy Wood said he would carry the wood through the woods. And if Wood said he would, Wood would.
228. Bridget builds bigger bridges than Barbara, but the bridges Barbara builds are better than the bridges Bridget builds.
229. Debbie didn’t destroy Darrell’s dishes. Darrell destroyed Debbie’s dishes.
230. Denise sees the fleece. Denise sees the fleas. At least Denise could sneeze and feed and freeze the fleas.
231. Does someone know a synonym for cinnamon? Someone once said that cinnamon has no synonym.
232. Fancy Nancy didn’t fancy doing fancy work. But Fancy Nancy’s fancy auntie did fancy Nancy doing fancy work. So, Fancy Nancy did fancy work for Fancy Nancy’s fancy auntie.
233. How many cookies could a good cook cook if a good cook could cook cookies? A good cook could cook as much cookies as a good cook who could cook cookies. [H]
234. How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?
235. If I assist a sister-assistant, will the sister’s sister-assistant assist me?
236. If two witches would watch two watches, which witch would watch which watch? [H]
237. If you notice this notice, you will notice that this notice is not worth noticing.
238. I have a black-backed bath brush. Do you have a black-backed bath brush?
239. Knit this net with neat knots. Knots that are not neat are not the knots this net needs.
240. Milly made many mini-muffins to munch with her morning mug of milk. [H]
241. Nancy naps at noon and Nick knows it’s not nice to knock when Nancy’s napping.
242. 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? Where’s the peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper picked? [H]
243. Pick a partner and practice passing, for if you pass proficiently, perhaps you’ll play professionally.
244. Sally sells sea shells by the sea shore. But if Sally sells sea shells by the sea shore, then where are the sea shells Sally sells? [H]
245. Sally sells soil samples at the soil store. Sometimes there are seashells in the soil samples Sally sells.
246. She sells seashells by the seashore. The shells she sells are surely seashells. So, if she sells shells on the seashore, I’m sure she sells seashore shells. [H]
247. She saw sheriff’s shoes on the sofa. But was she so sure she saw sheriff’s shoes on the sofa? [H]
248. Should she shut summer shutters slowly or should she shut summer shutters swiftly? [H]
249. Six snakes sniffed six sticks. The snakes sniffed so softly that their sniffing seemed silent. Soon their soft sniffing stopped. Then the six snakes that sniffed the six sticks simply slithered away.
250. Something stinks and I think what stinks are the things in the sink.
251. Swan swam over the sea. Swim, swan, swim! Swan swam back again. Well swum swan! [H]
252. The captain’s cook was a crook because he took the clock locked in the captain’s kitchen cupboard.
253. The shepherd swiftly sheared the sleepy sheep with the sharp scissors. [H]
254. Tie a knot, tie a knot. Tie a tight, tight knot. Tie a knot in the shape of a nought.
255. Which witch snitched the snitch witch? Or did the snitch witch snitch the witch? If the snitch witch snitched the witch, then which witch did the snitch witch snitch? [H]
256. 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!
257. You know New York. You need New York. You know you need unique New York. [H]