Pronunciation: How to pronounce 'have' when it's an auxiliary

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Tim’s back in his pronunciation workshop. This time he’s finding out about how we say ‘have’ when it’s an auxiliary verb – and hearing about what some Londoners would do if they forgot to set their alarm…
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TRANSCRIPT
Tim
Hi. I’m Tim and this is my Pronunciation workshop. Here I’m going to show you how English is really spoken. Come on, let’s go inside. Phew, just made it. A little bit late today. My alarm didn’t go off this morning, so, I nearly missed the bus.

Voice
Err… Tim, why do you need a bus to get to the shed at the end of your garden?

Tim
Well, you know it’s a really big garden.

Voice
Really?

Tim
OK, fine. Look, I’ll let you into a little secret. This actually isn’t my workshop. I’ve been borrowing it from a friend. Anyway, I nearly missed the bus, but I didn’t. So, let’s ask some people in London what they would do if their alarms hadn’t gone off this morning.

Voxpops
If my alarm hadn’t gone off this morning, I’d’ve missed the bus.
I’d’ve stayed home.
I’d’ve woken up anyway.
I’d’ve been late for work.
I’d’ve missed the train.
I’d’ve stayed in bed.

Tim
In an earlier video we saw that the verb ‘have’ is pronounced as /hæf/ when it’s used in its modal form. But this isn’t the only way the pronunciation of ‘have’ can change. Watch and listen again. Can you hear how they pronounce it differently?

Voxpops
If my alarm hadn’t gone off this morning, I’d’ve missed the bus.
I’d’ve stayed home.
I’d’ve woken up anyway.
I’d’ve been late for work.
I’d’ve missed the train.
I’d’ve stayed in bed.

Tim
When the verb have is used as an auxiliary it’s often contracted. And when it comes after a consonant sound it’s pronounced /əv/. So, ‘I’d have been late’ becomes ‘I’d’ve been late’. This pronunciation is very common in conditional sentences, but it’s not the only time you’ll hear it. Here are some more examples.

Examples
Your parcel should’ve been delivered yesterday.
I would’ve done it differently.
We might’ve made a mistake.
The police’ve arrived.

Tim
Right, so you’ve heard the examples, and now it’s your turn. Listen and repeat.

Examples
Your parcel should’ve been delivered yesterday.
I would’ve done it differently.
We might’ve made a mistake.
The police’ve arrived.

Tim
Well done. Now remember, if you want to learn more about pronunciation, then please visit our website, bbclearningenglish.com. And that is about it from the pronunciation workshop for this week. I’ll see you soon. Bye bye! OK, now how does this alarm work? I guess I should’ve read the instructions! That was really loud!

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31 COMMENTS

  1. So, I've been discussing with some friends… The pronouciation of "have" in British English is the same as in American, right? I mean, the "A" in "hAve" never sounds as the "A" in "cAst" (that has an open sound in British English), the "A"in "hAve" always sounds like the "E" in "mErry", right? Thank you so much!!

  2. Thank you so so much Tim and BBC Learning English! This could be the most precious part of your workshop I need so far, indeed!

  3. I think that this is the most important part which so far I have been looking for improving speaking skill and listening from accent of native speaker. From that, I can speak english is more natural if I hit the book right now and finally, Tim ' so lovely and humorous. Thank BBC so much!

  4. Think you for helping us Tim, but the pronunciation of the auxiliary form is still ambiguous for me. I know that they are reduced when they stand as helping verbs in sentences
    What if they stand as main verbs in sentences, how would we pronounce them? E.g. I have an iPad. How "have" is pronouced here?

  5. I am following all your videos because, I have a big problem with my pronounciation thanks.
    Can I use this sound for formal conversation?

  6. what the last interviewee on the streets said sounds n looks like "I just stayed in bed" doesn't it? there's no "ve" sound at all!

  7. From Colombia exactly in Chocó department, I wanna say to you: thank you so much for using a simple way to explain the real English.

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