Spoken English Pronunciation of the Most Common English Words


Today youre studying the pronunciation of the 100 most common words in American English.

This is video 2 in the series. If you didn’t see video one, click here to watch it now.

It is important to understand what were doing here with studying reductions.

Were starting today with number 11, the wordit’. This word doesn’t reduce

in a sentence, we don’t drop or change a sound, but it said very quickly. And the pronunciation

of the T depends on the next word. If it begins with a consonant, this T is a Stop T: it,

it, it. It won’t be. It, it won't. Very fast, it. If the next word begins with a vowel

or diphthong, then this T is a Flap T, linking the two words together. It always, it always,

it it it it, it always, it always. Said very quickly. It always. Nothing too crazy here,

just say the word quickly. Not IT, but it.

Number 12, one of my all-time favorite reductions: For. We almost never say it this way. We say

fer’. Isn’t that funny? I had a student once who lived in America and was married

to an American. She told her husband how she was learning about this reduction. And his

response was, “that’s ridiculous". We don’t do that, we don't pronounce that fer.

Then later, he did it, as he was speaking naturally, and she pointed it out. Most Americans

aren’t even aware of these crazy reductions that we do. So, to make this reduction drop

the vowel, ff-rr, fer fer. Say the word very quickly, low in pitch. Fer fer. This is for

work. Fer. I made a longer video with more examples on the reduction of the wordfor’,

check it out if you want more detail here. I got it for my birthday. For for. What’s

for dinner? For. In conversation, fer notfor’.

Number 13: Not. Now, this word, in conversation, will very often be contracted n’t. Didn’t,

doesn’t, can’t, shouldn’t, won’t, and so on. Notice I’m not releasing the

T there, didn’t, but didn’t.didn’t. It’s an abrupt stop of air in the N to signify the T: didn’t,

didn’t, shouldn’t, nt nt, nt, shouldn’t couldn’t, couldn’t. If we don’t use

a contraction, then were often stressing it: I do NOT want to see her right now. In

these cases, well probably do a Stop T. Not. I do NOT want to see her right now. Not,

stop the air, and then keep going. I do Not wanna. Not

Number 14: on. This word doesn’t reduce. We don’t change any sounds like we did with

for’. But, it is unstressed. You don’t want to say ON in a sentence, but rather,

on’. On on. “Put it on the table.” On. When it’s unstressed, that gives good

contrast to the longer, clearer stressed wordsputandtable’, and this contrast

is very important in American English. It's better than each word being longer and clearer.

What would it sound like ifit, on, the’, were also stressed? Put it on the table. Put

it on the table. Put it on the table. No, that’s not how we speak. Put it on the table. Put it on the table.

That’s how we speak. Not ON, but on. Try that with me now. Low in volume, low in pitch,

not very clear. On, on. Put it on the table.

Number 15, the fifteenth most common word in English: with. There are two ways you can

pronounce this word: with a voiced TH, with, with, with or an unvoiced TH, with, with.

I don’t use the voiced TH. I think it sounds a little old-fashioned. I would stick with

the unvoiced TH, with, with. Just likeon’, this word doesn’t reduce. None of the sounds

change. But, it is unstressed. It will usually be pronounced like this: with, rather than

WITH. “It’s with the other onewith the, with the, with the, with the, with the. Low in pitch.

Notice I’m just making one TH to connect these two unstressed words, with the, with

the, with the. It's the unvoiced TH. With the, with the other one. It’s with the other


Number 16, he. Oh yes, this one reduces. Can I just say, we are already at 16, and we still

haven’t seen one word that is stressed, that's a content word. Wow. When are we going

to see it, and what is it going to be? I can’t wait to find out. But, back to 16, he. Fully

pronounced, ‘he’, it's the H consonant and EE as in SHE vowel. But very often we

drop the H, and have just the EE sound. What does he want? What does ee ee ee ee. We drop

the H and we connect it to the word before: does he?, does he? What does he want? What

would that sentence sound like if every word stressed? What does he want? What does he

want? What does he want? No, that’s not natural English. What does he want? I have

a video on dropping the H reductions. Click here or in the description below to see that

video and to get more examples.

Seventeen. As. Yep, this word reduces. It’s not pronounced AS in a sentence. That’s

stressed. This word is usually not stressed. The vowel changes to the schwa and it becomes

uhz’. AS, uhz. He’s as tall as me. Uhzuhztalluhz. Uhztalluhz. Not AS, uhz,

uhz. He's as tall as me. I have a video that goes over this reduction too. Click here or

in the description below to see that and more examples.

Eighteen. You. Another word that reduces. This word can be reduced toyuh’. What

are you doing? What are you. Yuh, yuh, yuh. You never have to do reductions, and you could

definitely sayWhat are you doing?”, you, you, you. I’m not reducing that, I’m

not changing the vowel, but I am still making it unstressed. ‘youinstead of YOU. This

word will usually be unstressed. That means, don’t pronounce ityou’, which is stressed.

Pronounce it you. Or reduced you.

Nineteen. Do. Our first content word. Content words are nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs.

They're usually stressed in a sentence. Our first stressed word! Sort of. Actually, this

word can reduce. It depends on how it’s being used in a sentence. In a question, where

there’s another verb, we often reduce it. For example, what do you think? ‘Think

is another verb. Did you notice how I pronounceddo’? What do you? What to, what to, what

to do do. D plus schwa. Reducing DO like this is nice, natural English. I do have a video,

there I’m stressing it, I do have a video because it’s a statement, not a question,

I do have a video on the DO reduction. Click here or in the description below to see that


Twenty. The word At. Preposition, function word, and yes, it reduces. In conversation,

we often pronounce this wordut’, with a schwa, instead of AT, with the AA as in

BAT vowel. The T is a Flap T if the next word begins with a vowel or diphthong, and a Stop

T if the next word begins with a consonant. If youre not sure what a Stop or Flap T

is, I do have a video on that, click here or in the comments below. Sample sentence:

She’s at school. Ut. AT becomesut’. She’s at school.

So now were twenty words in, and still all our words are usually unstressed or might

reduce. Well have to keep looking for our first stressed all the time word.

That’s it, and thanks so much for using Rachel’s English.