Xu Hướng 12/2022 # Phonetics: Strong Vs Weak Forms / 2023 # Top 14 View | Hoisinhvienqnam.edu.vn

Xu Hướng 12/2022 # Phonetics: Strong Vs Weak Forms / 2023 # Top 14 View

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Grammatical words are words that help us construct the sentence but they don’t mean anything: articles, prepositions, conjunctions, auxiliary verbs, etc.

These words have no stress, and so they are weakened. That weakened form is called “weak form” as opposed to a “strong form”, which is the full form of the word pronounced with stress. The strong form only happens when we pronounce the words alone, or when we emphasize them. Weak forms are very often pronounced with a schwa, and so are very weak and sometimes a bit difficult to hear properly.

Sometimes weak forms are easy to spot, because we use contractions in the spelling to show it:

I am French (strong form) I’m French (weak form)

But usually there is no change of spelling, only the pronunciation is different:

But strong form: /bʌt/ weak form: /bət/

Tell him to go strong forms /hɪm/ /tu:/ weak form: /tel əm tə gəʊ/

As you can see, the grammatical words “him” and “to” are unstressed and have a weak form when pronounced inside a sentence.

another example: I would like some fish and chips

strong forms /aɪ wʊd laɪk sʌm fɪʃ ænd tʃɪps/ This version sounds unnatural and, believe it or not, more difficult to understand for a native speaker.

weak forms /ɑ wəd laɪk səm fɪʃ ən tʃɪps/ and we can use weaker forms sometimes: /ɑd laɪk səm fɪʃ ən tʃɪps/ so we can see that the auxiliary verb “would” has two weak forms /wəd/ and /d/

Students who are learning English usually use only strong forms, and they sound very unnatural. English speakers use weak forms all the time, every single sentence is full of them, and students find it difficult to understand because they are not used to them, and very often they don’t even know they exist.

Why do grammatical words weaken the way they do. It’s all about rhythm. The way English is pronounced makes it necessary to weaken function words so you can keep the rhythm. You can find

more about rhythm here or simply watch this introduction video:



If you want to learn and practise weak forms follow these links:

  A video explaining more about 

Pronunciar las formas débiles   una web con explicaciones en español.

Phonetics in British songs we analyse the pronunciation of the British group One Direction and Ed Sheeran to see the weak forms in action as they sing.


Strong And Weak Forms With Examples / 2023


Pronunciation is not based on spelling. Language is primarily an oral phenomenon and in many respects (but not in every respect) the written form can be considered as a kind of representation of the spoken. Ideally the spelling system should closely reflect pronunciation and in many language that indeed is the case. But unfortunately this is not the case in English, the nature of the problem is twofold. Firstly each sound of English is represented by more than one written letter or by sequence of letters; and secondly, any letter of English represents more than one sound or it may not represent any sound at all.

Use of weak forms promote fluency which is an important feature of spoken language.

Daniel Jones writes:

“One of the most striking features of English pronunciation is the phenomenon known as ‘gradation’. By gradation is meant the existence in many common English words of two or more pronunciations, a strong form and one or more weak forms, weak forms occur only in unstressed positions; strong forms are used chiefly when the word is stressed, but they also occur in unstressed positions”.

While giving information about accented and unaccented syllables J. D.O’ Connor writes.

“Syllables which are not stressed often contain in the vowel/ /instead of any clear vowel, and this vowel / / only occurs in unstressed syllables, never in stressed ones”. (1992-91).

Connected speech has its own rules and imposes many changes on the separate words that it is made up of. Every utterance is a continuous, changing pattern of sound quality with associated features of quality, pitch, and stress. In connected speech a word is subject to the pressures of its sound environment or of the accentual rhythmic group of which it forms part. Such variations my affect the word as a whole, e.g. weak forms in an unaccented situation or word accentual patterns within the larger rhythmic pattern of complete utterance; or may affect more particularly the sounds used at word boundaries, such changes involving a consideration of the features of morphemes and word junctures, junctural assimilation, elision and liaison forms.

World Classes and Weak forms

In the sentence,

‘ I have a good book’.

Features of Weak Forms

The extent of variation in weak forms depends largely upon speed of utterance, the slower and more careful the delivery the greater the tendency to preserve a form nearer to that of the isolate word i.e. the strong form.

Weak form have one of the following prominent features.

Reduction in the length of sound.

Obscuration of vowels towards / /

Elision of vowels and consonants.

In such cases it is generally found that the weak form has / / where the strong form has some other vowel.


Strong form weak form or one of the weak form Illustration of weak form


In certain contexts the strong forms of the weak forms words are used.

The strong forms is used when a weak form word occurs at the end of a sentence. Where are you from? Many weak form words never occur at the end of a sentence e.g. the, your, etc. some words particularly certain pronouns occur in their weak forms in final position.

A strong form is used when a weak form word is contrasted with another word e.g. The letter’s from him, not to him. Same is the case in co-ordinated use of prepositions e.g. I travel to and from London a lot.

A strong form is used when a weak form word in given stress for the purpose of emphasis,e.g. You must give him more money.

A strong form is used when a weak form word is ‘quoted’ or ‘cited’, e.g. You shouldn’t put ‘and’ at the end of a sentence.

Another point to remember is that when a weak form word whose spelling begins with ‘h’ e.g. ‘her’, ‘have’. Occurs at the beginning of a sentence, the pronunciation is with initial ‘h’ even thought this is usually omitted in other contexts.

Contractions and Weak Forms

A contraction is a shortened form used either in speech or in writing. In speech some words combine together to form contractions. These are represented in writing that reproduce spoken language (e.g. drama, direct speech in novels, short stories), by omitting one or two letters and replacing the letters that are omitted by an apostrophic (‘).

In speech there is an area of overlap between weak forms and contractions. Weak forms (e.g. the weak forms of be and have) are used throughout connected speech in close proximity to a wide range of vocabulary. When personal pronouns are combined with the auxiliary verb be and have, the auxiliaries take their weak forms. These are spoken as weak forms and may be written as contractions e.g. ‘she has’ -‘she’s, ‘they have-‘they’ve.


The proper use of weak forms is essential for a correct pronunciation of English, and is on of the most difficult features of English pronunciation for foreigners to acquire. Foreign people generally have an almost irresistible tendency to use strong forms in their place.

It is possible to use strong forms only and some foreign learners do this. Usually they can still be understood by other speakers of English so that question arises why is it important to a learn how weak forms are used? There are two main reasons.

Most native speakers of English find an ‘all strong form’ pronunciation unnatural and foreign sounding.

The second and most important reason is that the speakers who are not familiar with the use of weak forms find it difficult to understand speakers who use weak forms. So it becomes compulsory from practical point of view to learn weak forms.

Teaching programmes must include this feature in their curricula and foreign learner can help themselves by paying more attention to their listening skills. Exposure to native speakers speech helps in improving the pronunciation. Correct use of weak forms can also be acquired by continual reading of phonetic transcription. In a few cases there are rules which help the learner.

Hubbard Peter et al (1983), A Training Course For TEFL, Oxford University Press.

Jones Daniel (1976) A outline of English Phonetics, Cambridge University Pres.

Gimson A. C. (1980). An Introduction to the Pronunciation of English.

Revised by Crittenden Alan (1994). Gimson’s Pronunciation of English.

Roach Peter English Phonetics and Phonetics and Phonodgy.

Saifullah M. Main An Approach to the study of Linguistics.

Interpretation of Communication with Example

How To Make Your English Strong? Base Adjectives Vs Strong Adjectives / 2023

Experience PDFelement:

Complete Lesson Transcript –

You know what; in English there are some words that are called base words. What’s that? And some words that are called strong words, yes. And they are used to punch away other words, like very, absolutely, too much, so much. If you have been using many of these words lately and you want get rid of them, then please join me, Michelle your tutor for the day.

Let’s start this lesson with a vocabulary check. So let’s look at the words on the board. Base adjectives. The word base here means that these words do not have the idea of very, do not have, very and these words here, strong adjectives already have the idea of very. For example, very scary. Here scary is a base adjective but if we have a strong adjective instead, we do not need to use the word, very. We are punching it away. So cool, isn’t it? They have the idea of very. We need to know one more word and that is intensifier. Have you ever heard about the word amplifier that increases the volume? Yes, the same way intensifiers increase or add on to the meaning of a word, add to the meaning. So the way very here is adding to the meaning of scary, so something that is double scary or triple scary, is very scary. So you’re adding to the meaning and very is an intensifier but this lesson is all about kicking away and punching away the intensifiers. So we’re gonna cut this very and use another word, to talk about something that is, very, very, very, very scary. Okay let me give you a situation first. So if you’re late for a meeting at office or at work, how do you feel? You feel terrified. Yes, that’s the word, terrified. So terrified means something that is very, very, very scary. But we don’t always get rid of intensifiers. We’re getting rid of boring intensifiers but we also have some interesting intensifiers like when you are late at work, you feel utterly terrified. Utterly, here gives the idea of even more. So you’re scared, you’re terrified but you’re even more terrified. That means utterly terrified.

Let’s look at the next one. Really crowded. So your favourite mall on a Sunday how is it? Is it really crowded, isn’t it? Yes and if you don’t want to use the word really, you can instead say, that my favourite mall on a Sunday is, packed, yes, packed. Here as well, you can use another intensifier, like completely packed, yeah. So completely packed means there is just no space, you can’t move around in the mall and there are just so many people on that day.

Okay, let’s look at the next one, very dirty. How does your mom like your room? Very dirty? No, my mom hates my room when it’s very dirty. She likes my room spotless, that means absolutely clean but that would be an opposite. We are talking about very dirty here. So if you wanna talk about something that is very clean, we’d rather say spotless. Something that is very clean. I’ll change this for you, would be called spotless. So let’s say if this board was entirely clear and there was not even a single spot on the board, a spot of ink, no spot of ink at all, well that’s spot. so it would be called spotless. you can also say, it’s perfectly spotless. yes, that’s a nice intensifier that you can use. it’s perfectly spotless.

Okay with that we move to the next one. very fat, yes fat is a rude word and I don’t think anyone would like to hear that, even if they are very fat. so you could instead say to them, obese. now if you think, you are very fat, a better way of saying it is that, I’m a bit obese, I think daily exercise will help me overcome it. obese, quite obese, the word quite here gives the idea of even more obese, yes.

With that we move to the next one, unusually hungry which means very hungry. unusually is also another intensifier that you can use, which has the same meaning as very. but when you are really unusually hungry then you can use a much better word that has the idea of very hungry and that word would be famished. when do you feel famished? think of it, I’ve always felt very famished or I’ve always felt exceptionally famished in a classroom when the teacher is teaching. I really feel famished then or starved, yes. starved as well. famished or starved. exceptionally famished.

Let’s look at the next one, particularly ugly. we have another word of saying this and that is awful. what do you think about a red shirt and yellow pants? Oh they’ll look completely awful. completely, that’s an intensifier and you can also use the word, so awfully has a negative connotation when you’re talking about something ugly but it can also be used not so literally to say that may be I’m awfully in love with you means too much in love with you. there, it has a positive meaning. so be careful about that connotation.

Let’s look at the next one, really messed. Okay, I’ve something for you, stay there, just stay there. okay so when you wear a hat or a cap, what happens to your hair? oh they are all messed up or they are really messed or maybe you can say they are utterly filthy, which means messed or dirty, utterly filthy. instead of utterly, you could also say, they look absolutely filthy. utterly or absolutely.

Now let’s look at the last one, very surprising. what do you think about a beautiful landscape with lovely hills and horses running in the meadows, it’s really astounding for me, really astounding, astounding. but if we don’t want to use the word, really because that’s exactly what we’re trying to get rid of, then you could say, it’s remarkably astounding, remarkably astounding. now have you seen something in this particular section? we have used certain words very often and which are those words? words like really, very, really very. so these are some common intensifiers that you can use with base adjectives if you at all have to use them and these are some of the common intensifiers that you can use with strong adjectives. there’s something you need to very careful about. you cannot use the word very with both a base adjective and a strong adjective. just try, it looks hideous. very clean and very packed, doesn’t sound correct, isn’t it? that’s why we’re using the word completely in place of very because this is the correct word that you must use and how about really? really messed, really astounding, that’s okay. so really is one word that you can use both with base adjectives and strong adjectives. isn’t that fun? now I’m really tired, no I think I’m utterly exhausted, so I’m gonna leave you with all of these words, so that you can use them and punch away all the boring base adjectives and use some interesting strong adjectives. I’ll miss you, you take care, see you very soon with another fun learning lesson, bye.

Hate Is A Strong Word; Meaning Of “Strong Word”? / 2023


What is the meaning of “strong word” in the following sentences? My understanding of the expression is the following: if a word is strong, it will have a great effect on people’s feelings or thoughts, it is a powerful word, it will have a great effect on someone. Is my understanding of the expression correct? Also, can you give me a better definition of the expression.

1. Mike: I hate my father. Greg: hate is a strong word.

2. You shouldn’t tell people they are ugly, ugly is a strong word.

3, A teacher should never tell his students that they are stupid, stupid is a strong word and telling students they are stupid will hurt their feelings.

4. Even is she is fat, it’s not nice to tell her she is fat. Fat is a strong word.

Yes, you’re completely right.. A strong word is that one leaving a great impact on others. In English we have strong words and mild ones. A mild word is a word that you can use in many different occasions without worrying that it may upset or bother someone. All the four examples that you’ve just given seem fine to me; I would use the ”strong word” expression in the same sentences that you wrote up there. Sometimes a strong word can be considered offensive but there’s still that fine line between strong words and offensiveness so definitely it’s not like ”swearing”.

yes, you understand the meaning of strong in that use. Strong as in severe, harsh, perhaps excessive. Extreme in meaning.

“I hate my mom”. “That is a bit extreme, you don’t really mean that”

Sort of means when something is said in terms of black and white when the reality is some shade of gray. Strong words do not leave much room for variation, for nuance, for shading the meaning.

I don’t particularly like the discouragement of the use of strong terms simply because they may cause hurt (as in number 3). Sometimes hurt is precisely what is required. Causing hurt is not the reason a teacher shouldn’t call someone stupid, it is because no student is really stupid and if they were, it would do no good to call them that anyway

I don’t consider fat a strong word. Disgustingly obese would be strong, harsh, excessive. Fat is simply the opposite of thin, and covers a wide range of conditions. Calling someone a PIG, or a COW, now maybe that would be a bit too strong.

And strong doesn’t always apply to negatives; calling someone brilliant or a genius could be too strong.

You sort of got it… Strong word can also mean it is an extreme ie using the term “morbidly obese” would make us think she’s bigger than saying she’s “fat” Hate is a strong word because it’s on the far end of the spectrum, it’s committed, and it leaves no room for doubt as to what you think. For instance if you say “I don’t like spinach.” it could mean “I love spinach.” “I dislike spinach” “I loathe spinach” or “I hate spinach”

Source(s): Just my take…

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A “strong word” (or phrase) is one that represents or evokes powerful emotions.

Such terms include love/hate, ugly/beautiful, brilliant/stupid, skinny/fat, live/die, rich/poor, as well as sex, fear, and political verbiage.

You have the correct understanding and definition of the phrase.

“Hate” has devolved into more of a dislike than anything. We should come up with a stronger word, perhaps di-hate?

Hate – have strong dislike of; bear malice to.

Ugly – unpleasing or repulsive to sight, morraly repulsive, vile, discreditable, unpleasant, unpleasantly suggestive, threatening, unpromising.

Stupid – in a state of stupor or lethargy; dull by nature, slow-witted, lacking in sensibility, obtuss, crass, characteristic of a person of this nature.

Fat – fed up for slaughter, fatted; well-fed,plump, corpulent, thick, substantial, greasy, oily, unctuous; slow witted, indolent.

Source(s): Oxford Concise Dictionary

Those words are all considered to some as having a negative connotation.

For the best answers, search on this site https://shorturl.im/1Mvxg

it means powerful. the entire sentence means that hate may be too intense (when used in this manner.) dislike would probably be better.

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