Betty Botter bought some butter,
"But," she said, "this butter's bitter.
If I bake this bitter butter,
It will make my batter bitter.
But a bit of better butter --
That would make my batter better."
So she bought a bit of butter,
Better than her bitter butter,
And she baked it in her batter,
And the batter was not bitter.
So 'twas better Betty Botter
Bought a bit of better butter.
This is one of the most well know, well loved twisters out there – in addition to being a totally tripping tongue twister, because it's so long! Whenever I tried to recite this as a kid, I never made it past the middle without messing up … and I haven't done much better as an adult!
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Peter Picks Plenty of Pickled Peppers
Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers,
So a peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper picked.
If Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers,
Where's the peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper picked?
This was another childhood favorite, and I was much better at it, I'm happy to say. There are several variations on this one, but I grew up on this version. I used to drive all the adults in my life crazy reciting it, because I, too, had a passion for pickled peppers!
Woodchucks and Wood Wonders
How much wood would a woodchuck chuck
If a woodchuck would chuck wood?
Just as much wood as a woodchuck would chuck
If a woodchuck could chuck wood.
I'm sure just about everyone remembers this one. As a kid, reciting it by rote, I didn't do too badly. When you sit down and actually look at how it's written, though, you're apt to get pretty confused! So much wood!
Mothers and Sons
A mother to her son did utter
"Go, my son, and shut the shutter"
"The shutter's shut" the son did utter
"I cannot shut it any shutter!"
This one … there's not a lot I can say about this one. Except that, as a kid, it could get you in a lot of trouble if you made the least little slip. Let's just say that “shut” is very close to another word … with a different vowel in the middle. But that's not the most totally tripping tongue twister that could get you in trouble if you weren't careful...
Sheets and Slits and … Oh My
How many sheets could a sheet slitter slit
If a sheet slitter could slit sheets?
A sheet slitter could slit all the sheets
If a sheet slitter could slit sheets!
I got in so much trouble for this! I don't even want to talk about it! I curse a fair lot now, I admit, but when I was a kid, I'd sooner die than utter a bad word – and that's all I ended up doing every time one of my friends dared me to try this.
Use Your Imagination
Can you imagine an imaginary menagerie manager imagining managing an imaginary menagerie?
This is proof that a tongue twister doesn't have to be long to completely twist your tongue. In fact, it also proves that some of the shortest ones are the hardest ones, if they have clever word play. I always loved this tongue twister, though, because it seems so magical somehow.
Is There a Doctor in the House?
If one doctor doctors another doctor, does the doctor who doctors the doctor doctor the doctor the way the doctor he is doctoring doctors? Or does he doctor the doctor the way the doctor who doctors doctors?
Since I so badly wanted to be a doctor, this twister always appealed to me. My mom, who was and still is a nurse, used to take me to the hospital with her sometimes. Invariably, I ran around reciting this to all the doctors, but they never realized that I was actually curious about the question, too. I never did get an answer...
When it comes to tongue twisters, few are as tricky as the classic “Is There a Doctor in the House?” This twister has been around for generations, and it’s still a favorite among wordplay enthusiasts.
The tongue twister is usually attributed to the English playwright and poet George Farquhar (1678-1707). Farquhar is best known for his plays The Recruiting Officer (1706) and The Beaux’ Stratagem (1707). He was an influential figure in the English theater of his time, and his works have been widely performed.
The “Is There a Doctor in the House?” tongue twister is a great way to practice your pronunciation and have a bit of fun. It’s often used by medical professionals and students to test their knowledge of medical terminology. It’s also popular among teachers and parents who want to encourage their children to learn and practice their language skills.
The tongue twister can be a great way to break the ice in a classroom or at a party. It’s a great conversation starter and can help people bond over a shared love of wordplay.
I'm not the pheasant plucker,
I'm the pheasant plucker's mate.
I'm only plucking pheasants
'Cause the pheasant plucker's late.
Hunting was a big thing where I grew up, although I'm not sure anyone hunted pheasants. Turkeys, yes, but they didn't quite work as well in this totally tripping tongue twister. All the same, my grandpa taught it to me during one hunting season, and I've cherished ever since. I also used to call my enemies “pheasant pluckers,” since I couldn't curse at the time.
My Enemy Anemone
Many an anemone sees an enemy anemone.
To this day, this twister is the only reason I know how to pronounce “anemone.” Also to this day, I can't say the word without thinking about this tongue twister. Truly, the anemone is my enemy.
Seashells and Lisps
She sells seashells on the seashore.
The shells she sells are seashells, I'm sure.
Remember this from the Brady Bunch? As it turns out, it doesn't always teach you to stop lisping. In fact, invariably, I lisp worse than ever whenever I try to do this – and it is not Cindy Brady cute!
There are tons more totally tripping tongue twisters out there, but these are the ones I remember most fondly. I have to say that, after compiling this list and going through my favorites, my tongue is pretty tired. So how about you take over, and share any of the tongue twisters or limericks you love?
Top Photo Credit: PunkJr
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