Contraction is a key part of speaking English with natural pronunciation. But does it matter if you contract?

Level: higher • 

Category: pronunciation, speaking

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Spanish speakers like to speak with clear vowel sounds because that’s how Spanish works. If I try to persuade my students to say “wanna” (want to), “gonna” (going to) or “‘ve” (have), they often resist, worried that a) they’re not doing it right or b) that they won’t be understood.

“Why can’t I just say it clearly?”, they complain.

There are two problems with this attitude:

1. Contraction helps people understand you. English stresses the important content words. If you stress the wrong words, it’s much harder to follow what you’re saying.

2. Your listening skills will suffer. If you don’t contract, how are you ever going to understand a sentence like this: “I never would’ve thought they would’ve looked this good“?

The BBC’s Tim’s Pronunciation Workshop will help you out. Watch the video above and if you feel motivated to take pronunciation seriously, check out the rest of the series here:

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