With time I've noticed that consistently British people don't express the letter "r" at the end of the sentences, while Americans do. Then I've checked it on Cambridge dictionary and I found that it is even documented not only one time. Let's take for example two words only: marble or certain.

In British English there is a full ignorance from the letter "r" which stands in the middle of the word (marble or certain), while the Americans express it well.

Now my question is if I can certainly determinate a rule which says that any word which have the letter R in the middle or in the end it is not pronounced at all in the British English. Can I rule it?

3 Answers 3


British English is non-rhotic. The letter "r" is not pronounced after vowels, unless it is also followed by a vowel.

The letter r can indicate a change in the quality of the vowel that precedes it. So "hard" /hɑːd/" but "had" /hæd/.

You can learn ar= /ɑː/ er, ur, ir = /ɛː/ and or = /oː/. So the vowel+r digraphs all represent long vowels in many words.

While most British accents are non-rhotic, the accents of the south-west of England are rhotic, and the r is pronounced. And note that in non-rhotic accents, the r is inserted if the following word starts with a vowel.

  • I'm a British English speaker (Yorkshire) - and I was talking with an Indian friend about sounding of Rs - for example in "alarm" - which I noticed I didn't do, I just "ahh" the sound :) And then I read your part about non-rhotic accents still insert the R if the following word starts with a vowel. And I thought "really??" - So I tried it out (saying "going to the bar again"), and I do! (it's like "bah ragain") It's quite bizarre how many language rules and nuances are just embedded in native speakers without them having any knowledge of it!
    – El Ronnoco
    Nov 3, 2023 at 11:38

I'm American, but I think you'll find that the British do express the "r" everywhere it's written, just differently from the American pronunciation. It is subtle, but it is there once you learn to hear it.

In any case this has little to do with the actual placement of the letter and more to do with the various combinations of sounds. For example, you should be able to hear the "r" sound when a British speaker says "boomerang", just differently from when they say "marmalade".

Side note: While I will not dispute that your average British English speaker is possibly ignorant of many things, it's not correct to say they have a 'full ignorance from the letter "r"'. Being ignorant of something, and ignoring it, do not mean the same thing.

You probably meant to say that they 'ignore the letter "r"'.


This is not a matter of grammar, it is just an accent or dialect.

Americans typically use heavier "r" pronunciations, while British use lighter or nonexistent "r" pronunciations.

You will be understood either way, so it doesn't really matter.

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