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How to Speak Casual English: Have to, Want to, Going to, Let me

Americans pronounce these common phrases like this:

have to
haftu
want to
wunnu
going to*
gunnu
let me
lemme

The "u" is the schwa sound, the simple sound in "up."

* The phrase "going to" does not always reduce, however. We say "gunnu" only when expressing a desire or intention, as in "I'm gunnu finish the project tonight." To speak about going to a place, we use the regular phrase, though we reduce "to," as in "I'm going t'the store." Also, you can just reduce to in the phrases "has to" and "wants to." Review reducing "to" in casual speech.

Use the sentences below to practice. Review all rules of casual speech.


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Written English     


Spoken English





I have to stay home tonight.
I haftu stay home tonight.

They have to leave by 5:00.
They haftu leave by 5:00.

What do you have to do?
Whu'd' you haftu do? *

I want to watch TV.
I wunnu watch TV.

They want to have a meeting tomorrow.
They wunnu have a meeding tomorrow.

When do you want to go?
When do you wunnu go?

I'm going to drive to the store.
I'm gunnu drive t'the store.

He's going to help with the project.
He's gunnu help with the project.

We're going to have a good time.
We're gunnu have a good time.

What are you going to do?
Wha'dar you gunnu do? **

Let me help you with that.
Lemme help you withat. ***

I want to help, but you won't let me try.
I wunnu help, bu'choo won't lemme try. ****

Let me check my schedule.
Lemme check my schedule.


* "What do" frequently reduces to "whu'd'" because the sounds T and D are made in the same place. "Do" also reduces in this phrase.
** In this sentence, the T in "what" because a D because it is between vowel sounds.
*** When a word ends in a sound and the next word begins with the same sound, you can speak it one time.
**** This sentence also has the T+Y rule.


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