I grew in a family that speaks Wu Chinese, so I cannot differentiate between the "ing" sound and the "in" sound. Are there any ways to tell them apart or pronounce them differently? They sound the same to me. (Hanyupinyin)

  • 如何区别前鼻音和后鼻音?
    – user4072
    Commented Mar 16, 2016 at 3:09
  • I'm confused as to whether you are living in a Chinese speaking country or not because if yes, you'd be asking about ways to tell the differences from the character and if no, it would be helpful if you point out the "other native language" of yours.
    – andrew
    Commented Mar 16, 2016 at 13:00
  • 4
    (Question irrelevant) I'm curious about whether you can distinguish -ing and -in in English, like sin and sing?
    – Stan
    Commented Mar 16, 2016 at 15:23

4 Answers 4


The difference between "in" and "ing" is in the ending sound. Say "in", hold it for a second or two, and feel the position of your tongue. Your tongue should be in the front, touching the roof of your mouth just behind your front teeth. Then say "ing", and do the same. Your tongue should be at the back of your mouth. Try to hear the difference in sound when you do this exercise. Differentiating the sound will come with practice. Hope this helps.


Many people in South China are not clear of n and ng. That's, as you mentioned, Wu ascent problem. I suggest you use dictionary to know what character are n or ng, and listen to those who pronounce good, for example, presenters of CCTV news


When you pronounce "ing" sound, you should feel reverberation in your nose, "in" doesn't. Listen carefully to "精英"(jing ying) and "金银"(jin yin) and feel the difference.

  • 6
    Actually both /in/ and /ing/ are nasal sounds. So there is a vibration in the nose for both. The difference is the position of the tongue in the mouth. For /in/ it is the same as /it/, whereas for /ing/ the position of the tongue is the same as /ik/.
    – dda
    Commented Mar 16, 2016 at 2:32

We've made a video all about this topic over on the Say It Right series.

The link to that specific video is here which you can watch for free, but if you found it helpful, you could check out the rest of the series here.


Hope it helps.

  • 2
    Cannot load the video. (I believe I'm not blocked by the GFW.)
    – Stan
    Commented Mar 17, 2016 at 8:43

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