Teacher/Parent Resource

Search ESLwatch

Log in Register

Log in

ESL Lesson: Common Reduced Forms in American EnglishCommon Reduced Forms in American English


1. Going to is pronounced GONNA when it is used to show the future. But it is never reduced when it means going from one place to another.


We're going to grab a bite to eat. = We're gonna grab a bite to eat.

I'm going to the office tonight. = I'm going to the office tonight.


2. Want to and want a are both pronounced WANNA and wants to is pronounced WANSTA. Do you want to can also be reduced to WANNA.


I want to go for a spin. = I wanna go for a spin.

Do you want a piece of cake? = Wanna piece of cake?

He wants to avoid rush hour. = He wansta avoid rush hour.


3. Have to is pronounced HAFTA and has to is pronounced HASTA.


Sorry, I have to leave now. = Sorry, I hafta leave now.

She has to go to work soon. = She hasta go to work soon.


4. Have reduces to AV or A in positive and negative phrases.


must have = must'av or must'a must not have = mustn'av or mustn'a

would have = would'av or would'a would not have = wouldn'av or wouldn'a

could have = could'av or could'a could not have = couldn'av or couldn'a

should have = should'av or should'a should not have = shouldn'av or shouldn'a


5. You is almost always pronounced YA, you're and your are pronounced YER, and yours is pronounced YERS.


Do you feel under the weather? = Do ya feel under the weather?

You're completely right. = Yer completely right.

Your brother will be fine. = Yer brother will be fine.

Is this book yours? = Is this book yers?


6. To is pronounced TA after voiceless sounds and DA after voiced sounds.


She wants to invite us to the party. = She wants ta invite us ta the party.

I need to go to bed now. = I need da go da bed now.


7. And and in both reduce to N.


Karen and Steve are coming to visit. = Karen 'n Steve are coming to visit.

Tim is in Paris this week. = Tom is 'n Paris this week.


9. D + Y = J T + Y = CH


did you = did'ju or did'ja let you = let'chu or let'cha

would you = would'ju or would'ja what you = what'chu or what'cha

could you = could'ju or could'ja don't you = don'chu or don'cha

should you = should'ju or should'ja didn't you = didn'chu or didn'cha


10. T is pronounced as D when it is between two vowels.


That's a great idea. = That's a gread idea.

What a great car! = What a great car.


T is not pronounced when it is between N and E.


center = cen'er

counted = coun'ed


11. The past tense form -ED is pronounced T after voiceless sounds, D after voiced sounds, and ID after T and D.



talked played decided

dressed ordered wanted

wished happened needed


Similarly, the plural form –S is pronounced S after voiceless sounds, Z after voiced sounds, and IZ after S, Z, SH, and CH.



desks sisters horses

cats legs peaches

tops eyes offices


12. The h sound in the pronouns he, him, his, and her and the th sound in them are not pronounced in fast speech when they are unstressed; however, they are pronounced when they are stressed.


I think he flunked bio class. = I think 'e flunked bio class.

I told him to study more. = I told 'im to study more.

He got an A on his final. = He got an A on 'is final.

She thinks her teacher is crazy. = She thinks 'er teacher is crazy.

Pop quizzes... I hate them! = Pop quizzes... I hate 'em


-3 # Ghetto/Chav or Gutter SpeechTracy 2013-06-29 21:51
This type of English is classed as "Chav" English here in the UK. Normally those who are from the lower class now speak like this. They have picked it up over the years of watching American films.

It is terrible and make the people sound common and uneducated, which I know not everyone is. I hope that no one is teaching their students this kind of English.
0 # RE: Ghetto/Chav or Gutter Speechevolution 2013-06-29 22:44
If they are not taught it , pray tell how they are ever gonna understand the films?
:lol: Get over yourself , acceptance is the key to happiness. You shouldn't end a sentence with a preposition, either !!!!
0 # RE: Ghetto/Chav or Gutter SpeechRIP 2013-06-29 23:37
I have not ended any sentence with a preposition. The word "this" is a demonstrative not prepositional.

Anyway, if someone wants to learn local dialects they would have to learn them all as each location is different within any English speaking country. I am from the South East of England and I do speak Chatham-ese but only to people from my town. My husband is from Birmingham and he has his local dialect but neither of us speak it to people who are not from our locale. We adapt to our location.

My students have asked me about my dialect and I obliged them then asked if they understood what I said and which one they prefer to learn. They told me not to use my dialect as it sounded terrible. So I do have experience. If they learn it on their own that is fine but I do not wish it in my class. As I do not wish it of my own children.

Discussion ended.
0 # RE: Ghetto/Chav or Gutter SpeechSam 2013-06-30 14:42
Perhaps you failed to notice that this entry specifically addresses the phonetic characteristics of American English, which is not burdened with dialects to the extent that British English is. Although American English does have regional accents, the phonetic features in the entry apply broadly to American English.

And yes, any competent teacher of American English does teach these common reduced forms. At a minimum, the knowledge of such features is a prerequisite for understanding spoken American English.
0 # RE: Ghetto/Chav or Gutter SpeechSam 2013-06-30 07:05
Tracy, I hope your not a teacher of English as a foreign language. The last thing this industry needs is more untrained teachers such as yourself.
0 # RE: Common Reduced Forms in American Englishanon13579 2013-07-02 01:09
Lower class? Oh, no. So, you mean that I have to talk like a prig because I have a couple masters degrees and earn an above average income? What a pity.

I think something much more worthy of being addressed is the inappropriatene ss of writing with these short form vernaculars. Speech need not be rigid. Oral communication has a long, healthy history of allowing a person to let their hair down. Written communication, on the other hand, I agree is best done with care and dignity. One must be willing to make contextual allowances, of course. Know what'm sayin'?
0 # RE: Common Reduced Forms in American EnglishCharise 2013-08-20 02:58
This is how we speak when we are with friends.

Every country has this type of speaking. It does not mean you are uneducated, necessarily.

It is good to teach ESL students this because that is what they are going to most likely here with people around their age and/or people they meet when in an informal social setting.

Adding Your institution is Easy as 1-2-3

Simply add your institution, the form only takes a few minutes.

Register yourself on the website confirm that you are a human. Wait for confirmation via email.

Once you login to the website you can then review your chosen institution.

Recently Added

Jade Drive International Preschool is an international preschool located in Bandaragama, Sri Lanka. Address: 211/B/33, Alotiyawa Road, Welmilla, Bandaragama, Western...
Fengxian Foreign Language School is a private school located in Xuzhou, China. Address: Remin Road, Feng County, Xuzhou, Jiangsu, 221700,...
Ciji Foreign Language School is a private school located in Ningbo, China. Address: Qianying Road Baishalu Street, Cixi, Ningbo,...
L.E.D.Y International English School is an international school located in Xuzhou, China. Address: L222-224, First Floor, Jinjie, Wanda Plaza, Xuzhou,...
South China Agricultural University (SCAU) is a public university located in Guangzhou, China. Address: 483 Wusan Road, Tianhe District, Guangzhou,...
Jilin University of Finance and Economics (JUFE) is an university located in Jilin, China. Address: 1699 Jingyue Road, Changchun, Jilin,...
CD International Schools (CDIS) has a couple of international schools located in India. Address: Sector 71, Near CHD Avenue, Gurgaon-Haryana, 1221001,...

Connect With Us Today

We believe it’s important to stay closely connected with the great individuals and organizations in the ESL/EFL industry, and what better way than through social media? We’re constantly posting updates online and participating in the buzz.

Please consider connecting with us on the following social media websites to stay up-to-date and connected!


Select a Country

Have you added your Institution!

Add your institution for review!

Thank for using ESLwatch, just one more thing before you go. Have you added your institution for review?

Does not matter if it is a school, college, university, recruiter, company, individual or online website that you have had dealings with in the past or present. The review form only takes a few minutes and you do not have to review the institution yourself.


Add Your Institution for Review