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So I find pronouncing "th" sound right after an "s" sound particularly difficult.

Example: This is the pen.

I tend to pronounce "d" instead of "th" sometimes.

Any helps please?

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  • You probably already know this, but I would advise editing this post to make it clear that the word "is" ends in the sound /z/, as in "zoo", rather than /s/, as in "suit". – sumelic May 3 '17 at 22:17
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Stick your tongue out a little more when making the "th" sound. "D" occurs when your tongue is behind your teeth, while "th" occurs when you have your tongue pressed on the tip of your top teeth.

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I can't offer anything definitive, but as a (former) singer, my answer would be to come to a full stop after is before starting on the. Experienced singers can do this very quickly but it does take practice.

This is one of the big challenges with The Star Spangled Banner where you have lyrics like "Whose broad stripes and bright stars" and "And the rockets' red glare" and it is frequently performed in large, echo-y stadiums and diction is absolutely critical. (Too often one hears about "brahstripes and brystars".)

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After whispering "This is the pen" to myself over and over again, I found the following:

In transitioning from "is" to "the", my tongue moves into a position similar to /d/ but with a slight gap for air to pass through. It continues moving into a more natural /th/ position (tongue between the upper and lower teeth), while getting ready to pronounce the vowel. Now that I really think about it, it's quite a complex movement! Hopefully that helps though.

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