The English language loves contractions. “Cannot” becomes “can’t” and “will not” becomes “won’t”; “its” and “it’s” and “he’s” and “she’s” are all commonly used words that actually are two words combined. Another way of combining words is to use relaxed pronunciation. This is the combination of two words into one, and is used often in speaking (but not in writing). Using these words is a great way to make yourself sound more like a native speaker.

Take a look at these examples of relaxed pronunciation, and practice until you sound like a native speaker! Pay close attention to the example sentences: each one provides a great activity suggestion for students who are learning English at CISL San Diego or San Francisco.


Examples of Relaxed Pronunciation in English

  • coulda (could have)
  • dunno (don’t know)
  • gimme (give me)
  • gonna (going to)
  • gotta (got to)
  • kinda (kind of)
  • oughta (ought to)
  • shoulda (should have)
  • sorta (sort of)
  • wanna (want to)
  • woulda (would have)


Practice with Relaxed Pronunciation in English

Trying saying these sentences out loud for extra practice!


coulda (could have)

I coulda gone to the movies with my host sister, but I got sick.


dunno (don’t know)

I dunno what will be more fun: whale watching, or going to the Zoo.


Several tour companies offer whale watching tours throughout the year. A tour is also a great way to view the city from the water!


gimme (give me)

If you gimme five minutes, I’ll go with you to Taco Tuesday.


gonna (going to)

We are gonna go to Balboa Park. Wanna come?


Photo courtesy of Balboa Park.
Museums, parks, classes, tennis courts, events . . . there are so many things to do in Balboa Park that we simply cannot list them all. Photo courtesy of Balboa Park.


gotta (got to)

I gotta go shopping. Where should I go?


kinda (kind of)

I kinda wanted to sleep in, but I’m glad I went to the farmer’s market instead.


oughta (ought to)

I oughta trying surfing again. It was so much fun!


CISL San Diego organizes surfing lessons often. Check out the Activities Calendar for upcoming events!

shoulda (should have)

I shoulda gone with you to the Giants game!


sorta (sort of)

We went to a beautiful restaurant with an awesome view. It was sorta a date.


wanna (want to)

Wanna come hiking at Panorama Hill with me?


Hiking in SF
San Francisco is an outdoor lovers’ haven, and there are countless hiking trails with gorgeous views of the city and the Bay.


woulda (would have)

I woulda never met my best friend if I hadn’t gone to Sausalito!


Would you like to improve your speaking and pronunciation skills even more? Check out our posts on the following: