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Transforming Verbs in Everyday Phrases with Connected Speech | English Pronunciation Lesson

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.

Example

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.”
So, “give me” becomes “gimme”.

 

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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4 comments

  1. Thank you for every useful lessons. I always practice all of the lessons reading description and speaking them at the same time. It’s very useful for me to pronounce English better. Thanks for sharing great lessons with us 🙂

  2. Thanks alot for being so kind as to teach and guide us without asking for a single penny! Well, i chase upon these website this year ( luckily i found it 😀 ) i’ve seen over all the articles that you’ve posted that very very helpful for me!really! i have a question about the sentence”gimme a sec”.that is, when i say ” gimme a sec ” do i need to connect the ” gimme a”
    by adding {y} between them. As i’ve learnt the insertion of {y}between two vowels.Am i right? Thanks a lots! 🙂

    • You’re very welcome! I love to share my knowledge and lessons for free with my awesome students! 🙂

      You are absolutely correct — we insert a [y] sound between “gimme” and “a”. This is because the last vowel sound in “gimme” actually ends in a consonant: [iy]. This is the natural result of stretching your lips back into a smile.

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