The English you learn in the classroom often doesn’t prepare you for what you hear out on the street in everyday life. This is because when Americans speak, we transform our words by connecting and deleting sounds, so that we can speak more efficiently.
Instead of saying, “give me a minute”–as in, “wait a minute until I’ve finished doing something”–Americans combine the verb and indirect object, then delete the [v] sound to say:
- “gimme a minute.”
Commonly Transformed Verbs
- Give me –> gimme [GIMiy]
- Let me –> lemme [LEMmiy]
- Have to –> hafta [HAEFtə]
- Has to –> hasta [HAEStə]
- Used to –> usta [YEWstə]
Listen and Repeat
- “Gimme a sec.” (“Give me a second”)
- “Gimme one more.” (“Give me one more”)
- “Lemme see it!” (“Let me see it”)
- “Lemme have a bit.” (“Let me have a bit”)
- “I hafta do my homework.” (“I have to do my homework”)
- “We hafta get outta here.” (“I have to get out of here”)
- “She hasta find her book first.” (“She has to find her book first.”)
- “It hasta be real!” (“It has to be real!”)
- “You usta be around more.” (“You used to be around more.”)
- “I usta know a guy like that.” (“I used to know a guy like that.”)
Remember, it’s not essential that you speak like this, and on some occasions, this relaxed speech can sound too informal. However, the better you understand these rules of pronunciation, the more you will be able to understand native English speakers when they speak.
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