Home / English Lessons / Pronunciation of Contracted Verbs: Would + have = would’ve | Part 2 | English Pronunciation Lesson

Pronunciation of Contracted Verbs: Would + have = would’ve | Part 2 | English Pronunciation Lesson

This lesson is Part 2 in the series on Pronouncing Verb Contractions in English:

…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:

  1. stress their content words (meaning, they say them longer, louder, and higher in pitch); as well as
  2. 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]

Let’s practice.

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!”

Part 3Would + not + have = “wouldn’t have” >>

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