7/9 post of the series “The 9 basic pillars to speak English well“
When speaking in English contractions (also known as reduced speech) are very commonly used.
When you speak in English, what do you say?
They are or They’re
I want to or I wanna
I would or I’d
There is not a right or wrong option. You just have to use one or the other depending of the situation.
Let’s master English contractions and improve your speaking skill!
What Are English Contractions?
There are some combinations of words that can be contracted. It’s a very important characteristic of the English language. You do have to know at least the most common ones.
As an example, it not sounds the same when a native English speaker says:
“I want to see if they will do what they have told me.”
“I wanna see if they’ll do what they’ve told me.”
The 2 sentences are going to sound very different.
You are saying the same but in a formal way in the first sentence and in an informal way in the second one.
Why To Use Contractions?
You have to use contractions if:
- You want to reduce your accent when speaking in English.
- You want to improve your English rhythm and sound more natural.
If you don’t use contractions when speaking:
- Your English sounds too formal.
- Your English sounds unnatural and not fluid.
When To Use Contractions?
You have to use English contractions at your opinion depending of every speaking situation (formal or informal).
In informal situation you use contractions when speaking.
For example…When chatting with your friends.
But in formal situations you don’t use contractions when speaking.
For example…In a job interview.
Be careful because there is always an exception to the rule.
For example if you are speaking to your son, you usually use contractions because it’s a very informal situation.
But imagine that your son is having a very bad behavior and you want to show him that you are very angry.
Instead of using contractions and saying:
“I’m very upset. You aren’t going to the party this afternoon!”
You are going to avoid contractions to show that you are really angry:
“I am very upset. You are not going to the party this afternoon!”
As you can see it’s important to understand the basics rules because sometimes you have to break them in other to convey the right meaning for every situation.
This is only a VERY brief summary of contractions…
- You are –> You’re
- You will –> You’ll
- You should –> You’d
- You have –> You’ve
- You do not –> You don’t
- You were not –> You weren’t
- You can not –> You can’t
- You would not –> You wouldn’t
- You want –> You wanna
- You going to –> You gonna
- You don’t know –> You dunno
- …And the list goes on and on and on…
Don’t feel overwhelmed because there are hundreds of contractions.
You don’t need to know all English contractions. You just have to know the most common ones and then you can guess the others ones.
Use contractions whenever you talk in informal situations.
Like everything you learn, the first times is not easy to use them and you have to concentrate. But if you keep using contractions, you are going to internalize them and use them in a natural way like native English speakers do!
What to do next…
The 9 basic pillars to speak English well
– How to master English Pronunciation … Coming soon!
– How to master word Stress
– How to master sentence stress … Coming soon!
– How to master the Schwa sound … Coming soon!
– How to master English intonation
– How to master connected speech
– How to master thought groups … Coming soon!
– How to master Word Ending pronunciation
Copyright © Learn English Like Me and learnenglishlikeme.com, (2012-2016).
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Learn English Like Me and learnenglishlikeme.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.