Lição 5

Tim's Pronunciation Workshop: 'was'

How do fluent speakers pronounce 'was' in natural speech? Tim explains...

Lições desta unidade

Pontos alcançados nesta lição

0 / 7

  • 0 / 7
    Atividade 1

Atividade 1

Tim's Pronunciation Workshop: 'was' and 'were'

I was out late last night...
Tim's back in his pronunciation workshop. This time he's finding out how English speakers sometimes pronounce the words 'was' and 'were' - even though he's a bit tired.

To do

Take a look at the video, then try the activity to do some practice.

 

Assista ao vídeo e faça o exercício

Mostre a transcrição Oculte a transcrição

Tim
Hi. I'm Tim and this is my Pronunciation Workshop. Here, I'm going to show you how English is really spoken. Come on, let's go inside. Oh dear, excuse me. I’m a bit tired: I was out late last night, with the lads. I know, yeah, we didn't get back until 9.30. In the evening. It was a wild night. I know, I know, I am a party animal. Anyway, while I get myself together a bit, let's ask some other people in London what they got up to last night.

Voxpops
At 9 o'clock last night I was watching a movie.
I was laying in bed.
I was invited to a dinner at my friend's house.
I was playing football
I was out drinking.

Tim
Well well, what interesting lives we all lead. Now they all used the past form of the verb 'to be' – was. Now the word was is made of the sounds /w/, /ɔ:/, / z/, isn’t it? Or is it? Listen again. What sound can you actually hear?

Voxpops
At 9 o'clock last night I was watching a movie.
I was laying in bed.
I was invited to a dinner at my friend's house.
I was playing football
I was out drinking.

Tim
When the word was is unstressed, as in the examples we’ve just heard, then the vowel sound changes to a schwa - /ə/. So was becomes /wəz/, and also were becomes /wə/. These are called weak forms. Here are some more examples.

Examples
I was there when it happened.
We were delighted with the results.
We were having a good time until it rained.
He was feeling much better last night.

Tim
Right, now you've heard the examples, and now it's your turn. Listen and repeat.

Examples
I was there when it happened.
We were delighted with the results.
We were having a good time until it rained.
He was feeling much better last night.

Tim
Great work. Remember, if you want to learn more about pronunciation, then please visit our website, bbclearningenglish dot com. And that is about it from the Pronunciation Workshop for now. I'll see you soon. Bye bye! Now… oh look! Hey, you know what this is? This is WAS backwards. Get it? WAS backwards… it's a SAW. Now, I know what you were thinking. You were thinking that I was going to have some terrible accident. Well don’t worry – it’s not even switched on – look! Wooahhhhh!!!

 

To do

Got that? Now try this activity to get some more practice.

The was / were game

7 Questions

How many examples of 'was' pronounced /wəz/ and 'were' pronounced /wə/ are there in each sentence? You decide...

 

Parabéns! Você completou o exercício.
Excellent! Excelente! Bad luck! Você acertou:
x / y

More on this topic

Tim's Pronunciation Workshop part 14 - weblink image The Sound of English: Voiced Consonants: Bag Jamaica_Inn_weblink_image_1.jpg

End of Unit 13

We hope that was useful. In Unit 14, Sian brings you part 2 of her lesson on giving emphasis with a story about her terrible holiday. In News Review and LingoHack you can find out which words are making the headlines - and Tim will be back with the Pronunciation Workshop as usual. See you there!

Vocabulário desta lição

  • Pronunciation of 'was' and 'were'
    When ‘was’ and 'were' are not stressed, the vowel sound becomes schwa - /ə/.

    Some examples of phrases where this might happen include:

    • I was up late last night.
    • We were delighted with the results.