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English Pronunciation: Contractions

Contractions are clearly reduced sounds. However, contractions are not informal. They are used all the time. In fact, American speakers think more in the reverse: we put the full word back when we want to be clear or need to stress the full word. For instance,

She'll be coming into work tomorrow.
She WILL be coming into work.

He couldn't get his car started.
He could NOT start his car.

To sound fluent, you want to pronounce contractions and use them regularly.

This table lists English contractions and how to pronounce them.



To Be
Pronunciation
To Have
Pronunciation
Will
Pronunciation
Had/Would
Pronunciation
I'm
IM
I've
IV
I'll
I(U)LL (same as "aisle")
I'd
ID (same as "eyed")
You're
YOR
You've
YOOV
You'll
YOOL
You'd
YOOD
He's
HEES
He's
HEES
He'll
HEEL
He'd
HEED
She's
SHEES
She's
SHEES
She'll
SHEEL
She'd
SHEED
It's
ITS
It's
ITS
It'll
I-dul
It'd
I-dud
We're
WEE(U)R
We've
WEEV
We'll
WEEL
We'd
WEED
They're
THĀ(U)R
They've
THĀV
They'll
THĀ(U)LL
They'd
THĀD

* Notice that a small "u" sound often occurs between a vowel and a final L or R sound. Also notice that "t" reduces to the light D with "it'll" and "it'd."


Contractions with "NOT"

Word
Pronunciation
Word
Pronunciation
Word
Pronunciation
Word
Pronunciation
Word
Pronunciation
aren't
A-runt
doesn't
DU-zunt
can't
CANT
hasn't
HA-zunt
wasn't
WU-zunt
isn't
IZ-unt
don't
DONT
couldn't
C-dunt
hadn't
HA-dunt
weren't
WER-unt
won't
WONT
didn't
DI-dunt
shouldn't
SH-dunt needn't
NEE-dunt
wouldn't
W-dunt

* Notice "s" sounds like "z" in the common words "is," "was," "has" and "does."

* To sound fluent, avoid "translating" contractions. If you read "he's," say "hees," not "he is." If you read "wouldn't," don't say "would not." Say "W-dunt."



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