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How to Say and Use EXCUSE ME in English


In this American English pronunciation video,
we’re going to go over how to pronounce and use the phrase ‘excuse me’. The phrase ‘excuse me’ can be used in
different situations to mean different things. But first, let’s talk about the pronunciation
of the word ‘excuse’. I’m going to say it two different ways. Can you hear the difference?
Excuse, excuse. Excuse, excuse. It’s a subtle difference, and it’s in the ending sound.
If the ending sound is voiced, in this case, a Z sound, excuse, then it’s a verb. If
it’s unvoiced, excuse, then it’s a noun. It’s a verb in the phrase ‘excuse me’.
So, for the most part, we will be using a Z sound. The different ways to use this phrase. First,
you can use it to get someone’s attention.>>Excuse me, where’s the bathroom?
>>Around the corner.>>Excuse me, do you have the time?
>>Ah, it’s about 9:15.>>Thank you sir.
>>You’re welcome. Because we’re using it to get someone’s
attention, excuse me, it has to be very clear and a little bit louder. So, we begin with
the IH as in SIT vowel. Ih, ih, ih, a little jaw drop. Ex-, ex-, ex-. To make the K, the back part of the tongue
reaches up and touches the soft palate. Ex-, kk, kk, ks, ks. Do you see how my jaw closes?
That’s because the teeth have to be together to make the S. The tongue tip is down, pressing
here, to put a little tension in the tongue, behind the bottom front teeth. Ex-, ex-. The back part of the tongue reaches up and
touches the soft palate, kk, kk, kk. da-DA-da, excuse me. It has the EW as in FEW
diphthong. So, the tongue tip is down, pressing behind the bottom front teeth. For the first
half of the diphthong, the front part of the tongue is reaching towards the roof of the
mouth, yy, yy, to make that Y sound. Excu-, yy, yy, yy. Then we have the OO vowel, excu-,
so the lips will round. Excuse me, -se me, -se me. Then we have the Z sound, the M consonant,
and the EE vowel. So, to make the Z sound, the tongue is here, touching the back of the
bottom front teeth, and the teeth are closed, zz, zz. It’s just like the S except I’m
vibrating the vocal cords with my voice, zz. ZZ-mm. Then we just close the lips to go into
the M sound. Excuse me, ee. And then the EE as in SHE vowel. Lips will part, jaw won’t
drop much because the tongue is lifting pretty high here to the roof of the mouth. The tongue
tip is down, but the front part lifts. Excuse me, excuse me. Let’s watch one more time.>>Excuse me, where’s the bathroom?
>>Around the corner.>>Excuse me, do you have the time?
>>Ah, it’s about 9:15.>>Thank you sir.
>>You’re welcome. We also use this phrase to get around somebody,
or if we accidentally bump into somebody in a crowd. Now here, we don’t really need
to get someone’s attention, so we might really mutter it, excuse me, ‘scuse me,
‘scuse me, dropping the first syllable altogether. I’ve noticed sometimes I even almost just
whisper it if I accidentally bump into somebody, or if I need to slide between two people,
‘scuse me [3x]. So this is very different from the first case where we needed to get
someone’s attention, and we had to say it really clearly. Excuse me, ‘scuse me, ‘scuse
me.>>‘Scuse me, ‘scuse me.
>>‘Scuse me, ‘scuse me, thank you. ‘Scuse me. We can also use this phrase if we don’t
understand, and we need somebody to repeat what they’ve said. Excuse me? Excuse me? Here
again I’m dropping the first syllable. You don’t have to. Excuse me? But it doesn’t
have to be so clearly pronounced because we’re not getting someone’s attention. We don’t
have to get the focus here, we already have the focus. Excuse me, excuse me? Notice also,
the voice is going up in pitch. That means it’s a question. That’s the signal to the
person that I didn’t understand. Excuse me?>>So I don’t know what I’m going to get.
>>Excuse me?>>I don’t know what I’m going to get.
>>Ah.>>How about three?
>>Excuse me?>>How about three?
>>Yeah, three works.>>Okay.>>Excuse me? [6x] It’s just like saying ‘What did you say?’,
only it’s a little faster. Excuse me, excuse me? This phrase can also be used sarcastically,
as a response to somebody overreacting to something. For example, ‘Rachel, you always
make a mess in the kitchen.’ ‘Excuse me.’ Now, when we use it sarcastically like that,
we tend to really stretch out the stressed syllable, excuse, excuse. Well excuse me.
Of course, it’s a little bit rude, you would be using this, maybe, in an argument with
somebody.>>Dad, I can’t believe you ate the last
cookie!>>Well excuse me! So there you go, four different ways to use
and pronounce the phrase ‘excuse me’. So the pronunciation matters. Are we trying to get
somebody’s attention? Then we need to be really clear. Are we signaling that we don’t
understand? Then we need to phrase it as a question with the pitch going up. Excuse me?
Instead of, excuse me.>>[burp] Excuse me!
>>Hi.>>Hi. I hope this video has helped you figure out
how and when to use this phrase. Don’t forget to like and share this video! That’s it, and thanks so much for using
Rachel’s English.>>Did you touch your mic? You can’t touch it.
>>Well excuse me!!

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