Learn Spoken English


When you learn spoken English there is one very important thing you should keep in mind.

Spoken English can actually be
quite different than written English!

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Let's take a look at a few of these differences:

1. When native English speakers have a conversation they will not necessarily follow the appropriate grammar rules.


For example, when mentioning an unreal condition, you must use "were" instead of "was."

The following sentence is grammatically correct:
"If I were rich I would buy this ship."

In spoken English you could also hear the grammatically incorrect version:
"If I was rich I could buy this ship."

A ship

2. Some words tend to be used in spoken English, and some in written English.


Here is a good example.

This is a sentence you could hear in an informal conversation:

"I was so beat I had hit the sack early."

First, let's clarify what this means:

Beat = an informal way to say "very tired."
Sack = an informal way to say "a bed."
Hit the sack = an informal way to say "went to bed."


Now, if we were to write this sentence,
we would probably phrase it quite differently:

"I was so exhausted I had to go to bed early."


And if you want to make this really pompous and literary:

"I was overpowered with fatigue and was obliged to retire early."

Overpowered = defeated by someone or something stronger.
Fatigue = extreme tiredness.
Obliged = forced to do something.
Retire = go to bed.
A tired person

3. Some words which are written in full in written English tend to be contracted when used in spoken English.

Some common examples:
  • "You" --> "ya"
    (For example, "I'll see ya tomorrow.")

  • "Going to" --> "gonna"
    (For example, "I'm gonna talk with him tomorrow.")

  • "Want to" --> "wanna"
    (For example, "Where do you wanna eat?")

  • "Have to"/"Have got to" --> "gotta"
    (For example, "We gotta go.")

  • "Going" --> "goin' "
    (For example, "I'm goin' home.)

  • "Doing" --> "doin' "
    (For example, "They are doin' it all wrong.")

  • "What are you" --> "watcha"
    (For example, "Whatcha doin'?")

So what are you doing?

These contractions are unacceptable in written English.


In summary, spoken English is indeed quite different than written or formal English. And these are just some of the things you should keep in mind when you learn spoken English.

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