Spoken English Reduction Guide

Start Understanding Native Speakers

Is it difficult for you to understand spoken English?

Can you understand your English teacher but not understand most native speakers?

Teachers usually speak more slowly and clearly to help you understand what they are saying.

However, when speaking naturally, native speakers blend and reduce words when they speak. This makes understanding difficult.

This guide will help you understand English as it is spoken by native speakers.

Spoken English Reduction Guide

Below, you can listen to 30 sentences spoken naturally and read along so that you can easily understand what is being said.

You can also click below to open the PDF guide with more than 25 common speech reductions written as they sound when spoken. The PDF also includes the 30 example sentences found below the audio on this page. 

The sentences below have been written in their full forms with no reductions. Refer to the PDF to see reductions.

Except for contractions (I’ll, don’t, etc.), we do not usually write words the way they are spoken. Seeing the written reductions in the PDF guide will show you what you are hearing.

Spoken English reductions follow patterns. By learning these patterns, you can improve your ability to understand native speakers.

How to Use This Guide

  1. Try to listen at least once without looking at the guide or the sentences below. How much can you understand?
  2. Read the sentences below as you listen again.
  3. Open the guide to see the reductions and listen again. Listen as many times as necessary to hear, understand, and become familiar with the sounds and patterns of natural spoken English.
  4. Improve your spoken English by saying the sentences with the reduced forms. Can you match your speech to the audio?

Note: The words in blue within the guide link to videos.

PDF: Spoken English Reduction Guide

Press play for audio

One of the reasons it is difficult to understand native speakers is because they often blend words together when they speak. By learning how they do this, you can improve your understanding of spoken English.

Listen to the following sentences to hear how the words are blended together when spoken with relaxed speech.

  1. What are you going to do this weekend?
  2. What do you want to do this summer?
  3. When do you have to be at the airport?
  4. She has to work. 
  5. I am kind of tired. 
  6. I feel sort of sick. 
  7. I have a lot of work. 
  8. I ate lots of chicken last night. 
  9. We have got to get ready to go.
  10. I have got to eat.
  11. Did you eat lunch?
  12. Which one do you want?
  13. I should have studied harder.
  14. Would you like to join us?
  15. I want to go to Iceland.
  16. I have to go to the store.
  17. What did you eat for lunch?
  18. What are you going to do after class
  19. What do you want to eat for lunch?
  20. Where do you want to go for lunch?
  21. Tell her I will be there at seven.
  22. Georgie had to make his own breakfast.
  23. When do you want them?
  24. He told him about the problem.
  25. What did you eat for lunch?
  26. Let us have chicken and beer. 
  27. I had to wake up at seven a.m. today. 
  28. I have to go to the store.
  29. Catch you later!
  30. Did you study?

I hope that seeing and hearing these sentences helps you increase your understanding of spoken English.

Catch ya later!

More Practice

Listening Practice to Help You Understand Native Speakers: 10 more sentences with common reductions. Includes audio and both reduced and non-reduced forms. 

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