4 Year Old Speech Milestones – Language Development Norms

Updated: Jul 8, 2021

From birth to 7 years of age, children's minds are rapidly growing and taking in important language information. Each day is full of new lessons and discoveries they don't even realize they're learning – and you might not notice it either! But by taking a step back to look at the big picture, parents can assess how their child's language has progressed and how they compare to the typical milestones for their age.


Here, we've put together a list of research-based norms for 4-year-olds which you can make note of:


A Typical 4 Year Old:

  • Talks about picture books

  • Mostly grammatically correct conversation

  • Uses more negatives (i.e. "shouldn't"; "can't")

  • Adapts to changes of topic

  • Understands plural vs. singular

  • Participates in word play/jokes

  • Asks "How/How much" questions

  • Uses articles 'a' and 'the' to describe things

  • Reports on past events

  • Creates imaginary roles

  • Uses irregular and regular past tense (i.e. "She ran"; "He jumped")

  • Uses more pronouns (i.e. its, theirs)

  • Has speech sounds 'p', 'b', 'd', 'm', 'n', 'h', 'w', 'k', 'g', 't', 'ing', 'f', 'y',

  • Working on sounds 'l', 'r', 's', 'ch', 'sh', 'z'

  • Uses intonation properly