By now, you may recognize the importance of stressing the strong syllables in content words, but you may be wondering how the function words are left unstressed. The easiest way to do this is by “reducing” the effort in pronouncing function words. Luckily, you may already know how to do this by making contractions. Let’s take a look at common contractions and their pronunciations.
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.
|verb||long form||contraction||pronunciation (num. of syllables)||homophones||common confusions||rhymes with|
|same pronunciation||different pronunciation|
|be||I am||I'm|||ime| (1)||-||aim||dime|
|you are||you're|||yor| (1)||your/ yore||jaw||jaw/ more/ four|
|he is||he's|||heez| (1)||-||his/ fees/ heath||fees/ bees|
|she is||she's|||sheez| (1)||-||seas/ sees||seas/ he's|
|it is||it's|||its| (1)||its||eats/ ids||bits/ fits|
|we are||we're|||wier| (1)||weir||were/ where||pier/ beer|
|they are||they're|||thear| (1)||their/ there||dare||pair/ fair|
|are not||aren't|||arnt| (1)||aunt||ant/ aunty||shan't|
|is not||isn't|||izunt| (2)||-||-||-|
|was not||wasn't|||wozunt| (2)||-||-||-|
|were not||weren't|||wurnt| (1)||-||want/ won't||burnt/ learnt|
|have||I have||I've|||ive| (1)||-||ivy/ if||dive/ five|
|you have||you've|||yoov| (1)||-||-||move/ prove|
|he has||he's|||heez| (1)||-||his/ fees/ heath||fees/ bees|
|she has||she's|||sheez| (1)||-||seas/ sees||seas/ he's|
|it has||it's|||its| (1)||its||eats/ ids||bits/ fits|
|we have||we've|||weev| (1)||weave||with||peeve/ believe|
|they have||they've|||theiv| (1)||-||dave||dave/ brave|
|I had||I'd|||ide| (1)||eyed||id||cried/ died|
|you had||you'd|||yood| (1)||-||jude (name)||food/ renewed|
|he had||he'd|||heed| (1)||heed||hid/ head/ feed||feed/ need|
|she had||she'd|||sheed| (1)||-||shed/ seed||seed/ he'd|
|it had||it'd|||itud| (2)||-||-||-|
|we had||we'd|||weed| (1)||weed||wed||he'd/ she'd|
|they had||they'd|||theid| (1)||-||-||spade/ paid|
|will||I will||I'll|||ail| (1)||aisle/ isle||ill||while/ pile|
|you will||you'll|||yuul| (1)||yule||you all/ jewel||tool|
|he will||he'll|||heel| (1)||heel/ heal||feel/ hell||feel/ peel|
|she will||she'll|||sheel| (1)||-||shell||he'll/ feel|
|it will||it'll|||itul| (2)||-||-||-|
|we will||we'll|||weel| (1)||wheel/ weal||well||he'll/ she'll|
|they will||they'll|||theil| (1)||-||dale||dale/ male|
|will not||won't|||woant| (1)||-||want||don't|
|I would||I'd|||ide| (1)||eyed||id||cried/ died|
|you would||you'd|||yood| (1)||-||jude (name)||food/ renewed|
|he would||he'd|||heed| (1)||heed||hid/ head/ feed||feed/ need|
|she would||she'd|||sheed| (1)||-||shed/ seed||seed/ he'd|
|it would||it'd|||itud| (2)||-||-||-|
|we would||we'd|||weed| (1)||weed||wed||he'd/ she'd|
|they would||they'd|||theid| (1)||-||-||spade/ paid|