Hi, it’s Hadar. And this is the Accent’s Way, your way to finding clarity, confidence, and freedom in English. I wanna talk to you today about the two words – staff versus stuff. Staff and stuff. Now, these two words are very similar, except for one sound – the middle vowel. You have the A as in ‘cat’ – staff, and the ‘uh’ as in ‘cup’ – stuff. A versus ‘uh’. Staff and stuff.

Now here’s the thing. Most non-native speakers don’t have the A sound in their language. However, they do have this really small, neutral ‘uh’ sound in their language, that is closer to the ‘uh’ as in ‘cup’. So it’s very easy to pronounce the word ‘stuff’, but the word ‘staff’ is a little harder to say.

This is why a lot of non-native speakers reduce this A sound into this very familiar, neutral ‘uh’ sound. But then the word ‘staff’ turns into ‘stuff’, and then they both sound the same: stuff and stuff. Okay? So what I think you should do is focus on pronouncing the word ‘staff’, focusing on the A as in ‘cat’.

So, to make this vowel, you drop your jaw a lot, and pull the lips to the sides a bit – A. As you can see, my tongue pushes forward, the tip of the tongue touches the bottom teeth, right, right behind the bottom teeth. And the tongue is flat and forward. A, A, all right? Now, we have the ‘st’, and then you open it to the A as in ‘cat’ – ‘sta’, staff.

Versus ‘stuff’. For this one, you just relax your jaw, relax your tongue, relax your lips, release a short, quick sound. It’s like a stressed schwa – stuff. ‘staff’ versus ‘stuff’. Let’s try it in a sentence. ‘Her staff brought her personal stuff to the meeting’. All right. So make sure these two words sound differently. Her staff. Not ‘her stuff brought her stuff’, but ‘her staff brought her personal stuff to the meeting’. Staff versus stuff.

If you need more help, go check out my video ‘cap, cup and cop’, where I cover the three A sounds in American English: the front A as in ‘cap’, the central ‘uh’ as in ‘cup’, and the back AA as in ‘cop’. cap – cup – cop. staff – stuff.

All right, that’s it. Please share this video with your friends if you liked it. And don’t forget to subscribe to my YouTube channel. You can also come and check out my website for more content. And subscribe to my newsletter to get it to your inbox every single week. Have a great week, and I will see you next week in the next video. Bye.