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Q&A: How do you say “wanted”? | English Pronunciation

Question

How do Americans say the word “wanted” in English?

Thank you,

Muhammed

Answer

Good question, Mohammed!

Native English speakers often transform and delete sounds in their speech in order to speak with more flow and efficiency — to say the most they can in the shortest amount of time.

Here, native U.S. English speakers tend to subtly delete the central “t” in “wanted” to say:

  • [  nɪd]

Example

  • “He really wanted to stay, but he couldn’t.”

Note that a British English speaker may be more inclined to blow air out of his or her mouth, to say the “t” as a clear [t].

  • “wanted”  [Wɑn  tɪd]  | (U.K. English)

Notice that the “-ed” ending in “wanted” sounds like an [ɪd] in these examples.

Everyday English Pronunciation

If I were to say this sentence casually, in everyday life (with my American accent), I might go even further and also delete the “-ed” ending [ɪd] sound when connecting my speech.

Listen carefully.

Example

  • “He really wanted to stay, but he couldn’t.” (2x)

Did you hear what I did?

Here, I:

  1. deleted the “t” in “wanted”
  2. mostly deleted the [ɪ] in the “-ed” ending of “wanted
  3. connected the remaining “wand” to “to”
  4. de-stressed the function word “to” to say [tə].

So, in fast, everyday, casual, U.S. English,

  • “wanted to” –> [WɑNDtə]  (2x) 
  • “He really wanted to stay, but he couldn’t.”

Got it?

Let’s Practice.

Listen and Repeat

  • “He really wanted to stay, but he couldn’t.” (3x)

Remember, you do NOT need to speak like this to be understood! In fact, I want you to learn and practice these pronunciation rules so that you can understand native English speakers with confidence!

Do you have an English question? Send to it Larissa!

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