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Want your spoken English to sound faster and more natural? The n’t contraction is critical!
Contractions. You can’t sound natural speaking American English if you never use contractions. We are out of bananas and milk. We’re out of bananas and milk. We are out. That’s not natural. We’re out! That’s natural.
Today, we’re going to work on accent training when it comes to contractions and we’re going to focus specifically on one kind: N apostrophe T contractions. These are the ‘not’ contractions and there are a lot of them, and three different ways to pronounce them. Actually, four. Do you know all of them? We’re going to go over everything to make sure you know the most natural pronunciations, so as you learn English, you’ll learn the best spoken English. And then we’ll quiz you to make sure you get it. As always, if you like this video, or you learned something new, please like and subscribe with notifications. First, let me name all of the N apostrophe T contractions that we have in English, then we’ll go over all the different ways they can be pronounced.
We have: isn’t, aren’t, wasn’t, weren’t, haven’t, hasn’t, hadn’t, won’t, don’t, didn’t, doesn’t, wouldn’t, couldn’t, shouldn’t, and can’t.
That’s a lot, isn’t it? First we’re going to take don’t as our study word. Do not. Don’t. Don’t do that. Don’t say that. Don’t follow me. Don’t cry.
The pronunciation you probably learned for these words is: don’t, which is what I was just saying when I listed the words, don’t, with a full T sound.
That’s actually the least common pronunciation. A more common pronunciation is what I did in those sample sentences, don’t cry. And that’s a stop T. Don’t. Don’t. Don’t cry. It’s not that it’s dropped, that would be don–, but it’s: don’t, don’t, that abrupt stop of air, that signifies us the stop T, we just don’t release it. Don’t. Don’t. Don’t cry. Don’t bother.
Let’s go to Youglish and look at an example of the phrase: don’t bother, with a stop T.
Don’t bother. Don’t bother.
Do you hear that stop? It’s not: don’t bother, and it’s also not: don bother. It’s: don’t bother.
We would never say it: don’t bother, unless we were really exaggerating. Don’t bother. It’s a stop. Don’t, don’t, don’t bother. Let’s look at: don’t do.
Do you hear that stop T? Don’t do– So clear. Don’t do.
Can you do that? Can you stop the air? Don’t do. Don’t do. Don’t do it.
So the true T, almost never done. The stop T, very common. But you know what else is common? Dropping the T sound completely. No T at all, no stop, just the N. We already looked at don’t bother with a stop T. Now let’s look at an example with a dropped T.
Don—bother. Right from the N to the B with no stop, no break, no T. This is another common pronunciation.
Let’s look at three examples of: ‘don’t need’ with a stop T, and three with no T. First, the stop T.
Now, with no T sound at all. A dropped T.
By the way, I’m going to the website Youglish here. You can type in any phrase and get a lot of examples of places where these phrases pop up on YouTube. When should you drop the N? And when should you not drop the N?
You know, there are no rules here. You can do either one. Whether the next sound is a consonant, don’t mean, or don’t mean, or a vowel, don’t even, or don’t even. You’ll hear examples of both. Here are some phrases where I’m going to drop the T. I don’t even know. I didn’t even see her. I won’t even be here. Dropped T. Another common pronunciation of N apostrophe T contractions.
That leaves us with one more pronunciation: CH. When a word that ends in a T is followed by the word ‘you’ or ‘your’ or this ‘you’re’, we sometimes make that T a CH sound when we link.
Don’t you think so? Don’t you, don’t you, ch—
Do you hear that CH? Don’t you? The N is still there, but the T is now a CH sound. Won’t your boss be upset? Won’t your— won’t your—
Let’s listen to some CH examples.
Now, we’re going to look at ‘don’t you’ three ways: with a CH, with a stop T, and dropped.
Now, we’re going to quiz you. The more you understand what you’re hearing, not just the words, but how the words are pronounced and used in a sentence, the more natural you’ll sound when you’re speaking English. So you’ll hear a contraction, you’ll figure out which of the four pronunciations you hear. First, it’ll be a little bit easier. You’ll hear each example three times: once at regular pace, once in slow motion, and once again, at regular pace.
We’ll go over the answers at the end of the video. This is a 10-question quiz.
And now, a quiz that’s a little tougher. You’ll hear each example twice but no slow motion version.
Now, let’s check your answers. You’ll hear each segment five times with the answer on screen. See if you can hear the right T pronunciation and hear how they’re all different. Maybe repeat out loud the last couple of times. Try out these different pronunciations to sound more natural.
Now, a great exercise for you to do is take one of the words, and add one more word to it, like: isn’t it? Or isn’t that? Then go to Youglish, plug it in, and just hit that next arrow over and over, listening to maybe 10 examples. You’ll notice a lot of stop t’s, and a lot of dropped t’s, and it’s a great way to get native-like pronunciations of these contractions.
Don’t rely on what you learned before. What you learned was isn’t, isn’t, but it’s isn’t, stop T, that’s right.
I make new videos on the English language every Tuesday here on YouTube, all aimed at helping you sound more natural and be more confident speaking American English. Please subscribe with notifications and keep your studies up right now with this next video. Also check out my academy if you really want to focus step by step on improving your spoken English. Rachel’s English Academy. That’s it, and thanks so much for using Rachel’s English!