Lindsay McMahon
"The English Adventurer"

In today’s Tear Up Your Textbook Tuesday, Lindsay and Michelle discuss 5 weird ways Americans use English, and how to understand what they’re saying!


It can be frustrating to watch a Hollywood movie in English and not understand what’s being said.  Often, this happens because of some of the distinct ways Americans use English. For example, Americans tend to:


  • Pronounce the letter ‘t’ as if it were a ‘d’.  This happens when the ‘t’ is between two vowels: ‘water’, ‘later’, ‘better’ and ‘daughter’ end up sound like ‘wader’, ‘lader’, ‘bedder’ and ‘daughder’.  It can even happen between two words: ‘I have a lot of time’ might sound like ‘I have a lada time’.


  • Use casual phrases. These include ‘like’ and ‘um’, but also ‘I was like’ (which reports from a previous conversation), or ‘you know’ or ‘I mean’. Note that these are not used in formal occasions.


  • Drop vowel sounds. This usually occurs when the last letter in the word is an ‘n’, and the previous vowel is dropped.  ‘Manhattan’ drops the final ‘a’ and sounds like ‘Manhattn’; ‘button’ drops final ‘o’ and sounds like ‘buttn’.  The same happens with words like ‘gotten’, ‘forgotten’, ‘eaten’ and ‘gluten’.


  • String words together. This happens in cases like ‘wanna’ (want to), ‘gonna’ (going to), ‘coulda’ (could have) and ‘woulda’ (would have).


  • Make a statement we believe to be true, then question it.  Sometimes you will hear Americans add a ‘huh?’ after saying something they know is true.  They probably aren’t really questioning it.  Examples include: ‘So you live in Manhattan, huh?’ and ‘It’s cold out today, huh?’


Have you heard Americans using any of these weird speech habits?

Let us know in the comments section below!

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