Subtitles section Play video Print subtitles 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.