What's the difference between pronunciation and enunciation? I learned this a long time ago in English class but forgot what it was.


For example, Wikipedia says:

Good enunciation is the act of speaking clearly and concisely. The opposite of good enunciation is mumbling or slurring. See also pronunciation which is a component of enunciation. Pronunciation is to pronounce sounds of words correctly

I can't tell from this what the specific difference is. When is it correct to say someone's pronunciation is off versus when their enunciation is off?

Merriam Webster's definition defines enunciate as :

  1. articulate, pronounce

That would seem to say it's the same as to pronounce.

Is there a specific example of incorrect pronunciation verses enunciation?

  • 2
    Have you checked in a dictionary? Was there something there that needs clarification?
    – Hugo
    Commented Oct 25, 2011 at 21:27
  • 3
    @Hugo, Yes, let me edit my question to clarify. Done.
    – Josh
    Commented Oct 25, 2011 at 21:32
  • 2
    Pronunciation is spoken sound. Good pronunciation is accepted sound. Enunciation is clarity of sound.
    – user52753
    Commented Sep 25, 2013 at 3:51

12 Answers 12


Say the following aloud, being very careful to say each syllable very clearly and precisely: feb - you - air - eee.

Now do the same for this: feb - rue - air - eee.

Your enunciation was good with both, though your pronunciation was only correct for the second.

  • 2
    And, if you're british: FEB-ru-ə-ree. :) Commented Oct 29, 2013 at 14:25
  • 6
    Now, how about reducing that into a concrete definition from the fine example, which is supposed to be the answer?
    – Kris
    Commented Nov 29, 2013 at 8:43
  • 5
    I have to be honest... I still did not understand the difference after that example. Only after learning later on did your example seem neat (i.e. in retrospect). I'd say it only makes sense as an answer after becoming captain hindsight. Commented Mar 24, 2014 at 3:29

Pronunciation is the act of properly clustering each group of letters to make the correct sounds.

Enunciation is the act of clearly speaking in order to allow someone to understand.

What is the difference?

You can mumble a word and pronounce it correctly, but you are not enunciating it.

If you properly enunciate a word, but cluster the letters wrong you are not pronouncing it properly.

Real world examples of proper pronunciation and enunciation are your average TV announcers in England and the US.

Poor examples are anyone on reality TV...

  • 1
    Good explanation! Welcome to ELU. We look forward to hearing more from you. :-) Commented Dec 18, 2013 at 5:11

I would say that pronunciation is making the sound in the correct (or at least accepted way) while enunciation is how you say it.

So I could very clearly enunciate de Broglie (a French physicist who has annoyed 200 years worth of English speakers) perfectly clearly in the best Shakespearean actor voice - but pronounce his name completely wrongly.

I could also slur it so that nobody could hear - but get the C18 French pronunciation correct.

  • 2
    I hate to have to say it, but I'd probably have upvoted if you'd swapped pronunciation and enunciation. That's not precisely it though - I think when you pronounce a word you just speak without conscious effort, in your norma voice. If you enunciate it, you take extra care to articulate the sounds clearly and correctly. Commented Oct 25, 2011 at 22:32
  • 1
    @FumbleFingers, but if I enunciated'der brog lee' carefully and precisely it would be pronounced wrong. While if I attempted 'd bwee' in a slur it would be pronounced correctly but enunciated badly.
    – mgb
    Commented Oct 25, 2011 at 23:15
  • 1
    @FumbleFingers: The wikipedia quuote in the original question pretty much says it all: enunciation = how well articulated, pronunciation = how well...hm...it says "pronunciation ... is a component of enunciation". I think those two should be swapped: enunciation is a particular kind of pronunciation.
    – Mitch
    Commented Oct 25, 2011 at 23:19
  • 1
    See I think Hugo assumed this was simpler than it was. This is why I am confused!
    – Josh
    Commented Oct 25, 2011 at 23:26
  • 1
    @Martin: I think I largely agree with you there, but that's because most of us don't have a clue how to pronounce de Broglie in the first place. Added to which I'm not sure we need to care that much how he (or indeed the French in general) say it. We ignore that issue when it comes to the "correct" pronunciation of Paris, after all! :) Commented Oct 25, 2011 at 23:26

Take this word, for example: aminophylline /am·i·noph·yl·line/ (am″ĭ-nof´ĭ-lin) a salt of theophylline, used as a bronchodilator and as an antidote to dipyridamole toxicity.

The correct pronunciation is written above in parenthesis.

An example of an incorrect pronunciation of aminophylline would be: (uh-meen-o-fill-in)

Enunciation is merely saying both the correct version and the incorrect version slowly and clearly, so that the person hearing you speak can tell how you are pronouncing each syllable, where you are putting the "stresses" and whether or not you are using long "o", short "o", etc.

Now, if I wanted to say Amino (as in Amino Acid), then "uh-meen-o" would be the correct way to pronounce "Amino". Pronouncing it as "am″ĭ-no" would be incorrect, no matter how loudly and slowly you spoke (aka enunciated) the syllables and/or vowels.


Merriam-Webster Unabridged defines pronounce as

to produce the components of spoken language

so by their definition, pronunciation is simply:

the act or manner of pronouncing something : articulate utterance

Their definition of enunciation makes this salient distinction:

manner of uttering, articulating, or pronouncing especially as regards ease of perceptibility


Pronunciation is being able to simply produce the sound of the vowels and consonants of a word without emphasis. Enunciation is being able to identify and produce the specific sound of the vowels and consonants properly. Hence enunciation is the clarity and precision of how a vowel or consonant sound should be produced.

Example: Simply knowing how to dance is like pronunciation. On the other hand, how well the dance should be executed is enunciation.


Oh dear, it's an accent thing! i.e. glass with a hard 'a' (manchester) or generally northern versus 'gla(h)s', a southern kentish thing. Both are correct and, indeed, your very survival may depend upon getting it right. However, the same may be said for bath or ba(h)th, the pronunciations are both correct. However, 'baff, or ba(H)ff is wrong in both accents being an enunciation thing.


The slight difference between pronunciation and enunciation is that pronunciation is the act of making sounds or articulating words while enunciation is the way of articulating words clearly and distinctly according to the rules governing the language.


Pronounce defines how a word is spoken. Enuciate is to speak the pronouncement of the word.


Pronunciation is the articulation of the vowel sounds, while enunciation is the articulation of the consonants sounds. We pronounce the vowels and we enunciate the consonants, therefore it is incorrect to say, for example, that someone mispronounced a consonant M; M is a consonant, so we must say that someone misenunciated the consonant M


Pronunciation is a sound of words that you speak correctly based on its syllable, consonant, vowels, even phrases in a sentences. Enunciation is a sound of words that you speak clearly based on how you deliver words or sentences to your audience.

I hope It will help you 😊 In my opinion. .pronunciation is how to speak with words normally but correctly. How does he/she pronounce the words matters most when you are talking to an audience. Pronunciation comes first.i mean if you are talking to a random people your pronunciation of "boy" should boy not "buy" sounds. The Enunciation somewhat on how you enunciate your quality of speaking to an audience. It is just like your listening a storyteller without the feeling of reading it. Though he/she pronounce it exactly..still the Enunciation is bad...The receivers may find it irritating to listen bcoz of the way he/ she deliver it.

  • 1
    How does your answer differ from those already given?
    – tchrist
    Commented Jun 30, 2014 at 19:07
  • I just added my sentences 😄
    – cristine
    Commented Jun 30, 2014 at 19:38
  • 2
    -1 for using "bcoz" on the Professional English Stack Exchange Site. You might want to check out: ell.stackexchange.com
    – Josh
    Commented Jul 2, 2014 at 14:33

Enunciation is to say the word or the sentence clearly so everybody can hear you well, instead of mumbling the words. Pronunciation is to say the word the correct way. For example, say Tr-o-fy, and now say ch-er-o-fy. The correct pronunciation is the second one. It is two tricky words.

  • 2
    (I can't tell what word your example is trying to be.) Welcome to ELU, Randa. In what way do you believe your answer is an improvement over the existing answers?
    – Marthaª
    Commented Oct 6, 2012 at 0:31

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.