This lesson is Part 2 in the series on Pronouncing Verb Contractions in English:
- Part 1: Intro to Verb Contractions and their Pronunciations
- Part 2: Would + have = “would’ve”
- Part 3: Would + not + have = “wouldn’t have”
- Part 4: Could + have = “could’ve”
- Part 5: May + have = [meyəv]
- Part 6: Must + have = “must’ve”
- Part 7: Must + not = “mustn’t” | COMING SOON
- Part 8: I + will = “I’ll” [aiyəl] | COMING SOON
- Part 9: He/She/We + will | COMING SOON
- Part 10: It + will = “it’ll” [ɪdəl] | COMING SOON
- Part 11: They + will = “they’ll” | COMING SOON
…or listen to the audio while reading the lesson:
Would | Conditional
The verb “would” is used with “have” and the past participle of a main verb to express a hypothetical, conditional situation in the past, an event that did not actually occur.
To form a past, conditional sentence with “would”:
would + have + past participle of main verb
- “I would’ve gone shopping if I didn’t have so much homework to finish.”
Here, had the speaker not had a lot of homework to do, she would have been at the store shopping.
Now, why did I say “would’ve” instead of “would have”?
The music of English comes from the way native English speakers:
- stress their content words (meaning, they say them longer, louder, and higher in pitch); as well as
- de-stress their function words (meaning they say them quicker and more relaxed).
Function words in English are those that form the grammar and structure of a sentence and do not carry much content. These include auxiliary verbs, which accompany a main verb and add some grammatical meaning to the sentence. Because “have” is an auxiliary verb, we tend to de-stress it and contract it, then attach it to the verb preceding it.
So, to contract “have”, simply:
- delete the first consonant sound [h];
- de-stress and relax the vowel sound ([æ] –> [ə]); and
- connect it to the verb before it.
“Have” –> [əv]
Would + have = “would’ve” [Wʊ dəv]
Did you hear how much more relaxed the vowel sound in “have” is?
- “would’ve” [Wʊ dəv]
Remember that because “have” now begins with a vowel, you should connect your speech and pronounce the [d] in “would” at the beginning of “‘ve” [əv] –> [dəv].
- “would’ve” [Wʊ dəv]
Listen and Repeat
- “I would’ve come sooner, but there was so much traffic!”
- “If I had known you were fluent in English, I would’ve practiced more with you!”
- “We would’ve liked to have met your mother.”
- “I would’ve earned so much more money if I just worked a little harder!”
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