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After doing some research, I have noticed I have been saying the word "to" as [tʃu:], while most dictionaries and sources say I should pronounce it as [tu:]. But I have the impression that "to" is not pronounced with a clear t, at least in the most common variants of English. This also seems to happen with other words beginning with "to", such as "tomorrow" and "today".

Is this pronunciation of "to", [tʃu:], valid?

Are there any variations regarding the "t" in this word (excluding the "quick" informal pronunciations, which I am aware of)?

I am not a native speaker.

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  • I don't know how all native speakers pronounce things, so I can't state definitively that none of them say [tʃu:], but I would certainly recommend against using it if you are learning English.
    – herisson
    Feb 13, 2016 at 20:02

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Your pronunciation [tʃu:] of the word to is not correct. In fact, that's how the word chew is pronounced.

What you hear when native speakers pronouce the word to is an aspirated T. So to is pronounced [tʰu:] when stressed. See Wiktionary for more details.

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    I understand. I was in doubt because it is really common for Brazilians (like me) to say "to" as "chew" when stressed, even for teachers! Probably it is our approximation for the aspirated t. Curiously, this only happens before an "o". Feb 13, 2016 at 20:38
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    @RoggerAlves: yes, I have heard this pronunciation is used by some Brazilians. But I have never heard of a native speaker using it.
    – herisson
    Feb 13, 2016 at 20:41
  • So this is part of what would be your "Brazilian accent" when you are in the US.
    – GEdgar
    Feb 13, 2016 at 20:54
  • Note that aspirated /t/ is also somewhat affricated in most dialects of English, making it something more like [tˢʰuː]. That affrication is what makes speakers of some languages hear it as a [tʃ]. Jul 26, 2017 at 8:17
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You'll hear [tʃu:]in inner-city Dublin - it would not be considered a good example of how to speak

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