British vs American "can't"

Hi all, I’m new here so I’m not sure whether the topic has been posted previously or not.

I had a British teacher and she pronounced the word “can’t” just like the word “cunt”, which would totally mean differently. So my question is how do British speakers differentiate the pronunciations of both words, so that people would understand the difference? Or do they pronounce “cunt” differently?

Thanks very much :slight_smile:

I’m not sure how your teacher would have pronounced either word, but possibly she had a strange accent or possibly you did not differentiate the sounds clearly. They do not sound alike.

Really? Thank you for answering though :slight_smile:

Usually, the Americans pronounce can’t as in [kent] while the British stick with [kant]! The same problem is with ‘can’. Don’t trust your English teacher every time, I had some bad ones too!
Just look up the words on and you’ll hear the correct way to pronounce.


That’s not accurate.
Americans don’t pronounce “can’t”/“can” as you suggest (i.e. with the “e” as in “bet”).
The things are more complicated, and I presume, largely depend on the state/area.

Generally speaking, the “a” in the word “can” is pronounced almost as a diphtong (a vowel resembling the “e” in “bet” followed by a schwa). Same applies to any word where the “a” is followed by an “n”, such as:

This video explains a lot:

I bet Luschen can tell us about how Americans pronounce “can”/“can’t” because he’s American. :slight_smile:

This is how I pronounce it here in the U.S. - at least when I am yelling: