English for Everyone
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Episode 8:
Sound More Like an American by Using Contractions

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 Transcript of the Episode:

Main Intro: Welcome to the English for Everyone ESL Podcast! I’m your host, Caren Hayden, and I’m here to help you improve your English.

 

**music**

 

Show intro: Do you want to sound more like an American when you speak English? Then

today’s episode is for you! I will discuss contractions and why they are essential when speaking English. Stay tuned!

 

**music**

 

Contractions are words or phrases that are shortened by dropping one or more sounds. In written English, the dropped letters are replaced with an apostrophe (‘). Not using contractions is a very common pronunciation mistake I hear in non-native English speakers.

 

Many of my students tend to say every single word when speaking. Even when reading a text with contractions present, many English learners will say the two words of the phrase instead of the contraction. For example, if a text states: They’ll call us soon. Many learners will actually say: They will call us soon.

 

Some contractions are simply harder to say than others, and I think this is probably the reason that students just don’t like to say them. The fact is, though, if you want to sound more like a native English speaker, you should use contractions in your speech.

 

Traditionally, contractions are avoided in more formal writing in English, but I think even those customs are changing as our society becomes more and more casual.

 

Let’s discuss and practice some of the more difficult and confusing contractions found in the English language. You should repeat these out loud while you listen.

  1. Contractions with have

    • These contractions are: I’ve, you’ve, we’ve, and they’ve.

    • All of these contracted forms are only one syllable. That’s right – just one.

    • Let’s contrast the full and the contracted forms:

      • I have = I’ve

      • You have = you’ve

      • We have = we’ve

      • They have = they’ve

  2. Contractions with modal verbs and have

    • These contractions are: would’ve, could’ve, might’ve, should’ve, and must’ve

    • These are all two syllables.

    • Let’s contrast the full and the contracted forms:

      • Would have = would’ve

      • Could have = could’ve

      • Might have = might’ve

      • Should have = should’ve

      • Must have = must’ve

  3. Contractions with will

    • These contractions are: I’ll, you’ll, he’ll, she’ll, it’ll, we’ll, and they’ll

    • These are all one syllable except for the contraction it’ll.

    • Let’s contrast the full and contracted forms:

      • I will = I’ll

      • You will = you’ll

      • He will = he’ll

      • She will = She’ll

      • It will = It’ll

      • We will = we’ll

      • They will = they’ll

    • There’s a special contraction that means “will not,” the contraction, “won’t”

      • This is a strange exception in the English language (there are many).

      • You cannot say will’nt. It’s not a word.

      • So, will not = won’t

  4. A special Texan or Southern contraction – y’all

    1. This contraction stands for “you all,” and is extremely common in spoken English where I’m from, Texas.

    2. Make sure when writing y’all, to put the apostrophe between the “y” and the “all.” So, y’all is spelled y-apostrophe-a-l-l. Y’all.

 

Well, that’s it for today. I hope you have learned something about how to pronounce contractions in spoken English          Which contractions are most difficult for you? Why? I’d love to hear from you! Feel free to send me comments through iTunes or the podcast website!

 

Main Outro: Thank you so much for listening to the English for Everyone ESL Podcast! Don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast on iTunes. You can find the transcript for today’s show and more information about today’s episode on the show website: www.englishforeveryonepod.com. [Stay tuned for the slower version of today’s podcast.]

 

**music**

 

(same script)

 

Bye Bye!

 

Music is Where’s My Jetpack by Computer Music All-Stars found on www.freemusicarchive.org