[3.1] Commonly Reduced Function Words

 

In addition to the most common vowel sound in English (/ə/), weak forms are common reduced vowel expressions which require your attention. The ones below are commonly connector words that are barely heard yet often carry important meaning. 

 Essential Weak Forms

Determiners

a

an

the

/ə/

/ən/

/thə/, /thi/

Not before vowels

Only before vowels

/thi/ before vowels

Conjunctions

and

as

than

that

/ən/

 

/thən/

/thət/

 

Prepositions

at

for

from

of

to

/ət/

/fər/

/frəm/

/əv/

/tə/, /tu/

 

 

 

 

/tu/ before vowels

be

am

are

is

was

were

/əm/

/ər/

/s, z/

/wəz/

/wər/

See Contracted Forms

have (auxiliary verb)

has (‘s)

have (‘ve)

had (‘d)

/əz, s, z/

/əv, v/

/əd, d/

See Contracted Forms

Other auxiliaries

do

can

will (‘ll)

would (‘d)

should (‘d)

/də, du/

/cən/

/əl, l/

/əd, d/

/əd, d/

 

Pronouns & Possessives

that

them

/thət/

/thəm, əm/

 

Negative particle

n’t

/nt/