How to Teach the /N/ Sound: A Comprehensive List of /N/ Words

n words list

Young children famously love to use the word ‘no’ around the age of two or three, much to their parents’ despair. This is partly because the /n/ sound is one of the first they master during speech development. 

However, articulating this sound can be tricky for some children or take longer to master due to restricted movement of the tongue, language development problems or even growing up in a bilingual household. 

Producing speech sounds in general takes time because it involves excellent control of the vocal cords, mouth, lips and airflow to produce clear, understandable speech. Every child is unique so this can happen at different times for different children. 
In this article, we’ll be sharing a comprehensive list of /n/ words, phrases and sentences that you can use to help your child pronounce this sound. You’ll also discover which games and activities you can play with your child to make it fun and how our patented Forbrain headset can accelerate learning and mastery. 

Word Lists: /n/ sounds

If you want to support your child and help them improve their articulation of the /n/ sound, start by getting familiar with where this sound appears in everyday language. 

We’ve created a comprehensive list of the most child-friendly /n/ sound words, dividing them according to whether they appear at the beginning, middle or end of the word. 

You can refer to these words whenever needed or read through them with your child to help them get familiar with this speech sound.

Initial /n/ words (at the beginning of the word)Medial /n/ words (in the middle of the word) Final /n/ words (at the end of the word)

Further /n/ sound practice using short phrases and sentences

Congratulations! You’ve helped your child master the /n/ sound in isolation. Next, you can help them boost fluency, gain confidence and further improve their skills by using these words in short phrases and sentences. 

This will help them use the words in real-life situations, communicate effectively and overcome other speech and language development problems so they can fulfill their potential in life. 

Our team of experts here at Forbrain recommend that you follow this short /n/ sound program to get the best results. 

  • Begin by working through the /n/ word list and checking that your child has the right articulation to produce the sound. If not, touch the place behind their front teeth with a lollipop and then repeat the exercises. This encourages them to seek that sweetness and get that tongue positioning correct! 
  • Use carrier phrases to help them put these words into context immediately. 
  • Move onto using short phrases and sentences for the /n/ sound
  • Practice with child-friendly games and activities 

Carrier phrases 

Carrier phrases are an excellent speech therapy tool as they allow your child to practice those tricky sounds within very simple sentences. Simply choose a carrier phrase, insert an /n/ word then practice saying them aloud! 

Here are some of our favorite carrier phrases: 

  • “I see a…”
  • “I found a…”
  • “I want a…”
  • “He found a…”
  • “She found a…”
  • “I have a…”
  • “He has a…”
  • “She has a…”
  • “I like to…”
  • “He likes to…”

Put into practice, it looks like this:

  • “I want a NUT”
  • “I like LEMONADE”
  • “She found a RAINBOW”

Short phrases for the /n/ sound

Below you’ll find some useful short phrases that include the /n/ sound, organized according to where the sound appears in the selected word: the beginning, the middle or the end. 

Read through these with your child and you’ll further improve their pronunciation of the /n/ sound. 

Short Phrases: Initial /n/ Short Phrases: Medial  /n/ Short Phrases: Final  /n/ 
dark nightcute bunnybig lion
grab kneesopen handbright moon
long nailsweet honeyblue ocean
sharp knifeplanet earthsnowy mountain
nap timepretty rainbowsilver spoon
small nosehot sandred balloon
kind nursestrong windbrown crayon
silver necklacemagic wandred wagon
sore neckopen handjet airplane
bird nestpaper moneycrunchy bacon
new shoesfamily dinnerround button
one nickelpeanut shellchain links
number ninered canoebrave fireman
sticky notewarm doughnutsrun fast

Short sentences for /n/ sound

By this point, your child should be more comfortable articulating the /n/ sound and using it in short phrases. 

Now we will move on to practicing longer sentences to help boost their fluency and confidence. Again, these are organized into three groups: sentences that include the /n/ sound as the start, middle or end of the word. 

Short Sentences: Initial /n/ Short Sentences: Medial /n/ Short Sentences: Final /n/ 
There are eggs in the nestWe live on planet earthWe flew in an airplane
She is touching her kneesI see two rainbowsThe ocean looks beautiful today
The knife is made of metalHe put money in his pocketThe balloon floated in the sky
It is a cloudy nightThe desert is full of sandThe lion was hungry
The nurse is a kind manI see a bunny in the grassThe moon was shining brightly
He bought new shoesThe chimney is made of brickIt was a strong chain
They live at house number nineThey sat down for a family dinnerThe mountain is very tall
Knock to see if they are homeI want to eat nine doughnuts for breakfastA brave fireman rescued the family
There was a sticky note on the fridgeHis hand reached for the cookiesHe is touching his chin
It is naptimeWe bought honey at the storeMom is sewing on a round button
Hit the nail with the hammerHe removed the peanut shellI eat cereal with a spoon
He wrote on the napkinThe magician’s wand disappearedThe shoes are clean
She is taking a napLightning touched the groundThe big lion is eating its dinner
He invited his neighbor for teaWe enjoy running in the morningLet’s swim in the blue ocean
She is holding her necklaceThe wind was so strong it broke her umbrellaShe likes crunchy bacon
I used the needle to sewThe lady had blonde hairGive me a phone call in ten minutes
There was a loud noise I love playing tennis with youHe likes to run far
You love eating nutsThey paddled the canoe on the lakeThe dog is sitting in the wagon

Games & activities with /n/ sounds

As mentioned earlier, the /n/ sound is one of the first sounds to be learned during speech development. That’s one of the reasons why two and three year olds are renowned for their love of the word ‘no!’. 

With this in mind, it’s a good idea to use age-appropriate games and activities to make their home speech therapy fun, develop their language skills and grow in confidence. Besides, when it’s fun, they’re more likely to want to practice. 

Here are some game and activity suggestions to help practice the /n/ sound and boost overall articulation and communication skills. Use these alongside the Forbrain headset for best results. 

Play ‘I Spy’

When your child is under the age of five, saying words yourself and asking them to copy is a highly effective strategy to help them master certain sounds. It also helps them use these words in everyday contexts. 

Throughout your day, look for nouns (naming words) for everyday things, people and places that you encounter such as ‘nose’, ‘rainbow’, ‘window, ‘net’, ‘fan’ and ‘bunny’. Say these words when you see them and encourage your child to repeat them. 

If you can be silly, make faces, do a crazy dance or get your child physically involved, they will learn much faster and have lots of fun!  

Play ‘Articulation Bingo’

  • Start by printing out two copies of the free Articulation Bingo Boards on this website, choosing the /n/ sound at the beginning, middle or end of the word.
  • Cut out the pictures from one and put them into a pile face down then give the other to your child.
  • Let your child pick a word from the pile and try to pronounce it. 
  • When they get it right, give them a token to cover the circles at the bottom. 
  • Once your child has mastered three pictures in a row, they are a winner. 

Do a Scavenger Hunt

Everyone loves a scavenger hunt because it’s fun! It’s also a great way to teach your young child how to practice and master the /n/ sound. 

  • Start by gathering items from around your home that include the /n/ sound, referring back to the list we shared earlier if you need more help. 
  • Then hide a few selected items and offer a prize if they can find them all. We recommend that you stick to just small items and a small space such as a sandbox or bathtub filled with bubbles.
  • If they find all the items and pronounce them correctly, they are a winner!

Read Books

There’s nothing quite as memorable as curling up and reading a good book with your child. It’s cozy, strengthens your child-parent bond, opens up their imagination and improves their language comprehension skills. 

That’s why we highly encourage you to seek out the following /n/ sound books and read them aloud to your child. As you do so, ask them to practice the sound with you. 

How to pronounce the /n/ sound

If you want to help your child pronounce the /n/ sound, it’s useful to understand exactly how it’s made. With this information, you can troubleshoot any articulation problems to help improve their language skills. 

Before we start on the technical side of things, you need to know that we make those speech sounds using several parts of our bodies. We send the air from our lungs, pass it over our vocal cords then shape them using our tongue, lips and nose. 

The /n/ sound is a voiced alveolar nasal sound. This means your vocal cords need to vibrate (voiced), your tongue should touch the alveolar ridge (the place just behind your front teeth) and the air should pass through your nose (nasal). 

Here is more specific guidance. 

Pronouncing the /n/ sound

Choose one of the /n/ words from the lists we shared above such as ‘no’ or ‘night’, and then practice saying it aloud. 

Repeat the sound as many times as you like, paying close attention to the shape of your mouth, the position of your tongue, your nose and whether your vocal cords are vibrating. 

If you’re unsure about what your vocal cords are doing, place your hand on your neck and see what you feel. 

Hopefully, you’ll notice that your vocal cords are indeed vibrating, your tongue is positioned just behind your top front teeth, your mouth is slightly open and air passes through your nose to produce this sound. 

As you most likely noticed, producing speech sounds requires excellent control over your tongue, lips and airflow. This is why certain sounds are trickier than others to pronounce. 

However, the /n/ sound is usually one of the first to be mastered and usually happens around the age of 2 or 3. 

If this doesn’t happen, the most common cause is a problem with their tongue movement. If they struggle to place the tip of their tongue behind their front teeth, this makes it much harder to produce this sound. 

The good news is that by working through the /n/ sound word, phrase and sentence list, playing the suggested games and activities, reading often together and using the patented Forbrain headset, you will see a significant improvement.

How to produce the /n/ sound correctly

Want to help your child master the /n/ sound? Follow these steps: 

1) Ask them to lower their bottom jaw just a tiny bit, leaving some space between their top and bottom teeth. This will look as if they’ve opened their mouth to say something. 

2) Then ask them to gently place their tongue behind their top teeth, touching the bumpy bit (the alveolar ridge).

3) Finally, ask them to push air from their lungs, through their nose and let their vocal cords vibrate. 
Brilliant! Well done. If you prefer to see a live speech therapist in action, watch this child-friendly video by Peachie Speechie.

Using Forbrain to Upgrade Sound Practice

Your child can learn to master the /n/ sound more quickly and effectively if you use these wordlists, phrases and sentences with our patented Forbrain headset. 

Use it for just 10 minutes per day and your child will hear the /n/ sound more clearly, get instant feedback as they repeat this sound and grow in confidence at the same time. 

By combining cutting-edge technology with an enhanced auditory feedback loop via bone conduction, the headset provides the targeted practice your child needs to overcome speech and language difficulties. 

In just 6-8 weeks, you’ll notice a significant difference. That’s why it’s used widely by speech therapists, language therapists, educators and parents who want to provide their child with the best opportunity for the future. 

Find out more about Forbrain here

Final Words

The /n/ sound is one of the first sounds your child will learn to pronounce during their speech development. Although this usually happens by the age of two or three, some children can find it tricker due to limited tongue movement or other developmental problems. 

However, if you use our comprehensive list of /n/ words, phrases and sentences, bring them to life with fun games and activities and use the patented Forbrain headset for just 10 minutes per day, they could soon overcome their speech difficulties, increase in confidence and improve their overall language skills. 

Charlotte Witts

Charlotte is a linguistics graduate, ESL teacher and parent who is passionate about sharing her expertise in speech therapy, language acquisition and second-language learning so everyone can reach their full potential.

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