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English Speaking: The Grammar is in the Pronunciation, Part Two

English Speaking: The Grammar is in the Pronunciation, Part Two


Last time, I told you about how the grammar is in the pronunciation of “ed” for regular verbs for past tense and grammar “s” for subject and verb agreement.  You also got that the grammar is in the pronunciation of grammar “s” for plurals and possessive.

Grammar for English articles (“a,” “an,” and “the”) is also in the pronunciation.  You think articles are unnecessary and a waste of time?  No!  A punch of meaning goes with the use of the “indefinite” articles “a” and “an” or the “definite” article “the.”  People need to hear the important information that goes with “a” or “an”  versus “the.”

Case in point: when I was about 8 years old, my mother gave me money to go to the store to get “a pound of butter.”  I took the money and searched the dairy section for the cheapest pound of butter.  I got home and my mother was upset.  I got the wrong kind. She wanted “the” butter that we always used– the unsalted, more flavorful brand that she used when special company was coming for dinner.

If you slur through the pronunciation of the articles, then you are sending inaccurate information.  If you slur through or omit the articles, then people may think you are not well educated, because young, native-speaker elementary school children get the pronunciation and use of articles right all the time.

A lovely bonus to getting grammar accurate in your speech is that people who speak with accurate grammar will write with accurate grammar!  A pretty powerful bonus.  People who write with inaccurate grammar are often perceived as not being well-educated.   Think of yourself.  I’ll bet you are well educated.

Next time:  Grammar, pronunciation and prefixes and suffixes

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Be sure to watch our English Speech Tips videos and Accent Reduction Tip videos  for more English pronunciation and accent reduction exercise.

Rerun from April 2, 2014, May 3, 2017

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