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How to Speak Casual English: T Between Vowels and "What"

When T comes between vowel sounds, Americans speak a light D sound. This is a natural reduction because the T and D sounds are made from the same position. This rule even works when T is the last letter of one word and the next word begins with a vowel. In casual speech, phrases with the word "what," such as "what are" and "what about" will follow this rule. Learn more about American T sounds.

Use the conversation below to practice this rule. The T can have a light D sound in many phrases, not only those with "what." You can also apply other rules of casual speech.

I received a notice today that says we have to move out of our apartment by the end of next month.

Jack: That can't be true. Our lease doesn't expire for three months.

Ben: Well, it seems they're building a new highway, and there is a clause in our lease that says it can be voided for state highways.

Jack: Wow. What are we going to do?

Ben: We have a lot of decisions to make. Should we stay in this neighborhood? My commute isn't that great.

Jack: And what about our friends? Maybe we should talk to them first.

Ben: What about the money? We'll need a deposit, first and last month's rent again.

Jack: We should talk to the manager about getting our deposit back early because of the inconvenience. But if they don't give it to us, are we okay?

Ben: My money's a little tight, but I can ask my brother for a loan if I need to.

Jack: I have about half in savings. My part is okay.

Ben: What about movers? Should we hire people or do it ourselves?

Jack: We can ask our friends about it. If they're available to help, we can do it ourselves.

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