Speak English fluently by using everyday contractions

October 5, 2021
When you use everyday contractions, your conversations go smoothly.

Are you a non-native speaker who wants to practice speaking English to sound more natural? Do you want to improve your English listening ability because you are having trouble understanding fast-talking native speakers? Then throw out your textbook and start speaking English as it is used in everyday conversations. 

We are here to help you. Native speakers often use casual contractions in their conversations. Practice using the list below. After you get comfortable using these, your listening and speaking ability will soon become smoother. Note that we have written out the sound of the words, to help you with pronunciation, but these are not usually used in writing (formal version - casual pronunciation version).

Verb + to contractions

got to - gotta 

Textbook:   You need to go to the store and pick up the package.  

Everyday:   You gotta go to the store an’ pick it up.

going to - gonna 

Textbook:   He is going to give a presentation to the sales team on Thursday. 

Everyday:   He’s gonna talk with the team on Thursday.

want to - wanna 

Textbook:   I want to wait and see for one week if the situation will improve.

Everyday:   I wanna wait an’ see for about a week if things’ll get better.

have to - hafta 

Textbook:   You have to turn right at the next corner and go straight for 2 miles.

Everyday:   You hafta turn right at the corner there and then it is a straight shot.

Question + you contractions

how did you - how’d you - howdya

Textbook:   How did you fill in the registration form?

Everyday:   Howdya fill that in?

would you - wouldya

Textbook:   Would you like to have lunch together at the new restaurant on the corner?

Everyday:   Wouldya like to grab lunch at the new restaurant over there?

did you - didya

Textbook:   Did you see the Korean drama titled “Squid Game” on Netflix?

Everyday:   Didya see the K-drama called “Squid Game” on Netflix yet?

Contractions for asking for help or giving advice in a soft manner

do you - doya

Textbook:   Do you have a pen that I can borrow for a few minutes?

Everyday:   Doya have a pen I can borrow for just a sec?

don’t you - doncha

Textbook:   Don’t you want to try starting the meeting with an ice breaker?

Everyday:   Doncha want to try using an ice breaker to kick things off?

could you - couldya 

Textbook:   Could you please let me have 10 minutes of your time and help me by listening to my presentation?

Everyday:   Couldya please give me a few minutes an’ listen to my presentation?

could you not - couldn'tya

Textbook:   Could you not rewrite the sale report to cut down the word count and make it easier to read?

Everyday:   Couldn'tya rewrite the sales report to be short and quick?

should you - shouldya

Textbook:   Should you think about changing the website font size to be larger?

Everyday:   Shouldya think ‘bout making the font bigger?

should you not - shouldn’tya 

Textbook:   Should you not talk to her privately about that sensitive matter?

Everyday:   Shouldn'tya chat with her privately about it?

Contractions used for frank or humorous conversations

told you - toldya or toldja (often used by kids)

Textbook:   I told you that the dog ate my homework.

Everyday:   Toldja my dog ate my homework.

let me - lemme 

Textbook:   Let me see the report you wrote and I will give you constructive feedback.

Everyday:   Lemme see the report and I’ll share my thoughts with ya.

how about - how ‘bout

Textbook:   How about we set up the appointment for Wednesday at two o’clock?

Everyday:   How’bout Wednesday at two?

give me - gimme

Textbook:   Give me a ballpark figure of how much the budget will be for this project.

Everyday:   Gimme a budget ballpark figure.

Bonus: practice these combos

・Couldn'tya gimme the report by Friday?

・Lemme see here. Alright, you wanna grab lunch on Tuesday?

・I toldya yesterday that concert is super popular and you hafta get tickets in advance.

・How ’bout I put together the presentation this time but next time couldya do it? 

The examples above are meant be used with people you know well and with whom you can speak informally. At first, you might not feel comfortable using these casual English contractions. In that case, learn them to improve your listening skills. The more you practice, the more comfortable you will get in adding these to your conversations. You can practice listening and speaking everyday English on the New Voice Learning app and soon you will be feeling confident in using these contractions.

Matthew Sussman
Matthew Sussman
CEO, Co-founder