Reduced Forms

To sound more like a native speaker of English, it is necessary to learn the reduced forms used in daily speech.  It is also important if you want to understand what native speakers are saying.  As you may have gathered, we do not pronounce every word clearly.  Remember, these reduced forms are not written in standard English, but you may see some of them in songs, advertisements and personal writing, when wishing to reflect natural speech.

The most popular vowel sound in the English language is the schwa, and the phonetic symbol for this is an upside down letter `e':  /«/. On this page the shwa sound will simply be highlighted.   It is an unstressed syllable, and it sounds something like `uh`(like the sound you make if you've been punched in the stomach!)

Here are some examples of reduced forms:

Standard English

Reduced Form

Example

because

kuz

 "I don't wanna go to the party, kuz it sounds boring."

bet you

betcha

 "I betcha can't eat ten hot dogs!"

could have + consonant

kuda

 "You kuda gone with me, if you'd told me in plenty of time."

could have + vowel

kudav

 "I was so hungry, I kudav eaten a horse."

did you

didja/didya

 "Didja like the film?"

don't you doncha "Doncha know?"

get you

getcha

 "I'll getcha a drink."

give me

gimme

 "Gimme all your money!"

going to + verb

gonna

 "I'm gonna do my homework now."

got you

gotcha

 "I gotcha that candy bar you asked for."

has to

hasta

 "He hasta know how much he means to me."

have to

hafta

 "I hafta clean the house before I go out."

how are you + verb

howarya

 "Howarya doin'?"

I don't know

I dunno

 "I dunno what to think about that."

kind of + consonant

kinda

 "I'm kinda worried about that test."

kind of + vowel kindav  "This book is kindav interesting."

kinds of + consonant

kindsa

 "What kindsa clothes does that shop sell?"

kinds of + vowel kindsav  "Look at all those different kindsav oranges for sale!"

let me

lemme

 "Lemme in!"

lot of + consonant

lotta

 "I've got a lotta respect for that guy."

lot of + vowel lottav  "There were a lottav English people at the party."

lots of + consonant

lottsa

 "There were lottsa different nationalities in that chat room."

lots of + vowel lottsav  "There were lottsav interesting things to see and do."

might have + consonant

mighta

 "I mighta gone with him if he'd invited me"

might have + vowel

mightav

 "She mightav agreed to come if you'd been nicer to her." 

must have + consonant

musta

 "I musta walked past her without even seeing her."

must have + vowel

mustav

 "She mustav intended to dump him before his birthday."

ought to

oughta

 "You oughta know more about that than me."

should have + consonant

shoulda

 "I shoulda studied harder for the exam".

should have + vowel

shouldav

 "He really shouldav opened up about his feelings."

should not have + consonant

shouldn'ta/shouldn'a

"Where is she?  She shouldn'a taken that long!" 

should not have + vowel

shouldn'tav/shouldn'av

 "She shouldn'tav ignored you like that."

want to

wanna

"I wanna go home."

what are you + gerund whatcha "Whatcha doin'?"

what do you + verb

whaddaya

"Whaddaya wanna do today?"

would have + consonant

woulda

"I woulda done the dishes if you'd asked me."

would have + vowel

wouldav

"I wouldav asked you to do it, if I'd thought you would."

what is the matter wassamatta "Wassammatta witcha? (with you)

©Karen Bond 2001. All rights reserved.