How to Pronounce Contractions


I've had some requests to go over the pronunciation of various contractions.

So, let's start with the 'to be' contractions, as in I am, you are, we are. First, I'm. It's

one syllable, the 'ai' as in 'buy' diphthong and the M consonant sound. I'm here, I'm here.

You are, you're: begins with the Y consonant sound, then the schwa, and finally the R consonant

sound. You're, you're. You're here! You're welcome. He's, she's, and it's. Now the apostrophe

S for the word 'is' in these three contractions is pronounced as a Z sound for he and she,

and as an S sound for it's. He's, zzz, zzz, Z sound, she's, zzz, zzz, Z sound, it's, sss,

S sound. The apostrophe S in he's, she's, and it's, can also be shortening the word

'has', not just 'is'. He has, he's been here before. She has, she's, she's been here before.

It has, it's, it's been here for a while. We're begins with the W consonant sound. It

then has the schwa/R sound combination, just like the 'er' as in 'her' vowel sound: ww,

er. So even though it would be written with two different symbol sounds, it's just the

one rr, rr, rr sound. We're, we're, we're coming! They're: pronounced just like these

two words their/there. Th, the voiced TH sound, th, the 'eh' as in 'bed', the-er, er. The

schwa/R sound finishing off the word. They're. They're. They're here! Question words are

often part of contractions as well. For example, how is. How's, how's. The S is pronounced

as a Z sound, how's. How's it going? Why's, why is. Why's, again it is pronounced like

a Z sound. It's pronounced just like this word wise. Why's, why's it there? What is,

what's. So the apostrophe S is pronounced as an S, what's. Now, make sure you get the

T for 'what' in there. It's a stop, what's, not just an S sound. What---ss. So do move

the tongue up to the roof of the mouth to make that stop for the T. What's, what's.

What's it doing there? The apostrophe S could also be the word does. What does, what's.

What's it mean? When. When is becomes when's, zz, zz. Here the apostrophe S is pronounced

as a Z. When's, when's, when is, when's it over? The apostrophe S can also mean does.

When does, when's, again, pronounced as a Z, when's it end? When does it end, when's

it end? The have contractions. These are written as apostrophe VE, and when the word before

ends in a vowel or diphthong sound, it simply adds the V consonant sound to the end of that

syllable. I, I have, I've, I've, vvv. I've been waiting. You have, you've, you've. Again,

the word 'you' pronounced just the same, only with, vv, a V sound at the end. You've. The

Y consonant sound, 'oo' as in 'boo' vowel, and the V consonant sound. You've, you've

been waiting. We have, we've. The W consonant sound, the 'ee' as in 'she' vowel, and the

V consonant. It's pronounced just like this word, weave. We've, we've been waiting. They

have, they've. They've. The voiced TH sound, the 'ay' as in 'say' diphthong, they, they,

vv. And the V sound. They've. They've been waiting. The next set of words with the 'have'

contraction all end in a consonant. So rather than just adding a V sound, it actually adds

another, unaccented syllable: the schwa sound followed by the V sound. For example, could

have, could've, could've, ve, ve. Separate, extra syllable at the end. Could've. I wish

I could've seen it. Should have, should've, should've, ve, ve. I should've known. Would

have, would've. Again, it's the first syllable, woul-dve, that is stressed and, -dve: low

in pitch and volume. Would've. It would've been nice. Might have. Now the T here is going

to be pronounced as a flap T, so it will actually sound like a D: might've, might've. Dve, dve,

mai-dve, might've. I might've gone. The 'will' contractions. All of these contractions have

a dark L that is added at the end. I've said before, the dark L has a vowel-like sound

that's not written in IPA: uh, uh, uhl, before the tongue moves up into the final position.

So let's take example I, I'll, I--'ll, uhl, that dark L sound on the end. I will, I'll.

I'll be there soon. You will, you'll. You---uhl. Dark L at the end. You'll. You'll need to

come quickly. With the he will and she will contractions, the ee vowel might relax a little

into the 'ih' as in 'sit' vowel. He will, he'll, he'll, he'll be here soon. She will,

she'll, becomes more with the ih sound she'll, she'll, she'll be here soon. It will. It'll.

Notice the T here is pronounced as a flap T, the D sound. It'll. It'll be ok. With the

we will contraction you might find, again, that the 'ee' as in 'she' vowel relaxes into

the 'ih' as in 'sit' vowel. We will, we'll, we'll. It sounds a lot like the word 'will'.

We'll be there tomorrow. The will, they'll. They'll. The TH, th, voiced sound, 'ay' as

in 'say' diphthong, and the dark L sound. Uhl, uhl, they'll. They'll be here soon. How

will becomes how'll, which sounds just like this word howl. How will, how'll, how'll you

get there? Where will becomes where'll, where'll, where---'ll. Where'll you be? When will, when'll.

When'll I see you again? What will. Again, the T here will be pronounced as a D, it's

flapped. What'll, what'll. And you'll notice that the contraction adds a second unaccented

syllable. What'll. What'll it be? The words had and would can both be represented by the

apostrophe D. In the word I'd, it's simply a D sound at the end of the 'ai' as in 'buy'

diphthong. I'd. I'd go if I could. You would, or you had, you'd, you'd. The Y consonant

sound, the 'oo' as in 'boo', and the D sound. You'd, all one syllable. You'd like it. She

had, or would, and he had, or would, again, the apostrophe D simply adds the D sound at

the end of the syllable. She'd, he'd. She'd been there before. He'd been there before.

It. Now, when you add the apostrophe D here, it'd, it'd, you change the T to a D sound,

and the apostrophe D adds a syllable. It's going to be the schwa and the D sound. It'd,

it'd. So that 's the 'ih' as in 'sit' sound, ih, dud. The D - schwa - D sound. It'd, it'd,

it'd be nice. The apostrophe D with the word 'we', again, is just simply the D sound at

the end of that word, not adding a syllable. We'd. We'd. It's pronounced just like this

word 'weed'. We'd better get going. The D with they, again, simply adds the D sound.

They'd, they'd. They'd seen it twice before. The apostrophe D on the word how again just

adds the D sound. How'd, how'd, how'd. How'd it go? The apostrophe D can also represent

the word 'did' as in the following two examples. Again with the word 'where', when you add

the apostrophe D, you simply add the D sound at the end. Where'd, where'd, where'd it go?

Why did, why'd. Why'd. Again just adds a D sound, and it's pronounced just like this

word 'wide'. Why'd. Why'd you do it?