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Unit 2: English In A Minute
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Session 24

What’s the difference between ‘whisper’, ‘murmur’ and ‘mumble’? Find out with Georgina in our 60 second English lesson.

Activity 1

Whisper vs Murmur vs Mumble

Here’s Georgina to tell you about the differences between ‘whisper’, ‘murmur’ and ‘mumble’. Find out in our 60 second English lesson.

Watch the video and complete the activity

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Georgina

I’m Georgina from BBC Learning English.

Do you ever wonder about the differences between whisper, murmur and mumble?

They are all used to describe different ways of speaking quietly.

Whisper means to speak quietly, often on purpose, so that only someone very close can hear what you're saying!

I don’t want everyone to hear! I’ll have to whisper.

I’ve got a secret to tell you. I’ll have to whisper it though.

Murmur means to speak quietly, often in a low continuous voice, so it's hard to understand.

‘I love you’, she murmured in her sleep!

Do you want to go for a coffee?

I can’t hear what you are saying, stop murmuring!

Mumble means to speak quietly, often in a low voice, making it difficult understand.

She’s always mumbling and complaining very quietly so I can’t hear! It drives me mad!

I’m really sorry, I shouldn’t have eaten the last biscuit!

That was a really mumbled apology. I could hardly hear it!

Bye!

Whisper vs Murmur vs Mumble

Whisper

Whisper means to speak quietly, often on purpose, so that only someone very close can hear what you're saying.

  • She whispered into my ear.
  • I couldn't hear what the children we whispering about.

Murmur

Murmur means to speak quietly, often in a low continuous voice, so it's hard to understand.

  • He was murmuring continuously.
  • She was murmuring about something.

Mumble

Mumble means to speak quietly, often in a low voice, making it difficult understand.

  • I couldn't understand what he was mumbling about.
  • She was mumbling under her breath.

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