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  • Well hey there! I'm Emma from mmmEnglish

  • and in this lesson I'm going to share ten words

  • that you can start using right now

  • to sound more natural when you speak English.

  • So which are these ten magic words

  • that I'm talking about?

  • These ones!

  • Interestingly, these words have a few things in common.

  • So firstly, they are very, very, very, common.

  • In fact, these are some of the most

  • common English words.

  • They're all in the top twenty words

  • that are used in English.

  • So for that reason alone,

  • this lesson is worth paying attention to.

  • But before we go on, I want to make sure that you've

  • subscribed to mmmEnglish

  • and you've turned on the notifications so that you know

  • whenever there's a new lesson ready for you.

  • So just hit that red button down there!

  • But keep watching to learn how to say these words

  • naturally and at the end of this lesson,

  • you'll get to practise with me!

  • So most of these words are used

  • for grammatical reasons in English sentences.

  • On their own, they don't hold a lot of meaning.

  • They're not nouns or verbs or adjectives

  • which are the words that help us to understand

  • what is happening in a sentence or how it's happening

  • in a sentence.

  • So these words are structure words not content words.

  • The exception though is the 'be' verb here.

  • It's the only verb that we've got but it's the exception.

  • The other thing that these words have in common

  • is that they all have stressed and unstressed forms

  • when they're spoken.

  • And this is exactly

  • what we're going to go over in this lesson.

  • Because using the unstressed forms of these words

  • when you speak English will help you to sound

  • more natural.

  • So let's start with 'the'.

  • So this word is not usually stressed,

  • so you don't hear it pronounced like 'the' very often.

  • You'll hear a shorter version

  • and also you'll hear

  • So we have two unstressed forms because

  • the pronunciation of this word changes

  • depending on the word that follows it.

  • So if the word 'the' is followed by a consonant sound,

  • then it's pronounced 'the' - the lazy schwa sound.

  • Can I use the bathroom?

  • Tell the children to stay inside.

  • Now if the word 'the' is followed by a vowel sound

  • then it's pronounced

  • which is much like

  • but just a shorter version of it.

  • I'll take you to the airport.

  • She forgot to buy the ice cream.

  • The verb 'be' is the second

  • most commonly used word in English

  • but of course, it has several forms doesn't it?

  • Depending on the subject and the tense.

  • So you won't often hear 'be' stressed

  • in an English sentence.

  • When it's the main verb in the infinitive form,

  • you'll usually hear just a slightly shorter version.

  • I'll be home soon.

  • Now in the present tenses you'll hear 'am', 'is' and 'are'

  • and these forms are usually pushed together

  • when spoken naturally with the subject

  • so it forms a contraction.

  • 'I am' 'becomes I'm.

  • 'You are', you're.

  • 'He', 'she', 'it is',

  • he's, she's, it's.

  • 'We are' becomes we're

  • and 'they are' becomes they're.

  • So when spoken, these contractions mean

  • that we hardly hear the 'be' verb at all.

  • The pronunciation of the past tense forms

  • are also usually reduced.

  • So 'was' becomes

  • He was upstairs earlier.

  • And 'were' becomes

  • They were too tired.

  • Now in past participle form,

  • the vowel sound is often shortened to

  • instead of

  • it's been.

  • We've been there too.

  • Moving on to the word 'to'.

  • Now 'to' is the stressed form but when spoken,

  • the word is usually unstressed.

  • Just like I said, moving on to the word 'to'.

  • Moving on to the word 'to'.

  • It's quarter to two.

  • Now 'of' is another incredibly common English word,

  • usually unstressed so it sounds like

  • not

  • with the lazy schwa sound again.

  • Would you like a cup of tea?

  • I'll take a picture of you.

  • Now of course, 'and'

  • must make our list of commonly used words, right?

  • And just like the previous words, it's often unstressed

  • when spoken.

  • 'And' becomes

  • or

  • You and me.

  • Come and visit me!

  • We need some milk and apples.

  • Now this tiny little word 'at'

  • can be stressed or unstressed.

  • You need to be here at three o'clock.

  • So by stressing 'at'

  • I'm adding emphasis. I'm making the meaning stronger.

  • You need to be here exactly at three o'clock

  • not before, not after, at three.

  • So most of the time though, this word won't be stressed.

  • And the sound reduces to

  • I'll meet you at the car.

  • Pick her up at eight.

  • Just like 'at', 'that' can be stressed or unstressed.

  • So this word can be used as a determiner

  • to explain which specific thing we're talking about.

  • So in this situation,

  • you'll probably need to stress this word

  • so that it's really clear.

  • Not this one, that one!

  • And as an adverb it will probably also be stressed.

  • I'm not that hungry.

  • But when 'that' is used as a conjunction

  • so when it's connecting two clauses in a sentence,

  • it's unstressed and the vowel sound reduces.

  • It becomes

  • I told her that I'd be here.

  • So let's talk about the articles 'are' and 'an'

  • because they are both usually unstressed.

  • Now they're used with singular nouns, aren't they?

  • When you're talking about just one of something.

  • So since we stress English words to make the meaning

  • really clear, it's much more natural to stress the number

  • rather than stress the article

  • because the important information

  • is that there is just one of something.

  • So it sounds a bit odd to hear:

  • No! I said I only wanted a sandwich!

  • It's much more natural to hear:

  • No! I said I only wanted one sandwich!

  • So since most of the time, these articles are unstressed

  • the vowel sound reduces to become the schwa sound.

  • I'm only staying for a day.

  • Can you pass me an apple?

  • Now very often the word 'it' is reduced too.

  • So instead of 'it'

  • the vowel sound relaxes and it becomes

  • the schwa sound

  • and when spoken quickly, the T is often

  • not fully pronounced either.

  • The air is not released after the sound, so instead of

  • the air is caught

  • and then you move quickly to the next sound.

  • So listen up!

  • It doesn't matter.

  • I must have lost it.

  • Now notice how the word 'it'

  • is pulled into the word before it

  • because it ends with a consonant.

  • Lost it.

  • Get it out of the car.

  • And 'as', this little word can be a conjunction,

  • so it can connect two parts of a sentence together.

  • It can be a preposition, even an adverb.

  • So it can be stressed.

  • He wasn't as late as I thought.

  • But it's often unstressed.

  • Again, using the schwa for the unstressed sound.

  • He works as a doctor.