How to Pronounce ‘are’

Listen to the conversation- How many pronunciations of ‘are’ can you hear?

A. You aren’t wearing that old jumper again, are you?
B. Who are you? The fashion police?

There are three pronunciations of ‘are’ in the dialogue:
You /ɑ:nt/ wearing that old jumper again, /ɑ:/ you?
Who /ə/ you? The fashion police?

How is ‘are’ pronounced?

  • The pronunciation of ‘are’ depends on stress, function and position.
  • When ‘are’ is weak (unstressed) it is pronounced as /ə/ (/ər/ when followed by a vowel).
  • When ‘are’ is strong (stressed) it is pronounced as /ɑ:/ (/ɑ:r/ when followed by a vowel).
  • The negative form of ‘are’ is always pronounced as /ɑ:nt/ (just like aunt).
  • NB: ‘are’ is always strong at the end of a sentence or speech unit.

DRILL

Weak /ə(r)/:          How are you?           What are you doing?        Where are Anna and Emma?

Strong /ɑ:(r)/:         How are you?        What are you doing?        Where are Anna and Emma?

Negative /ɑ:nt/:        Why aren’t you ready?        Aren’t you coming?        My aunts aren’t here yet.

 

EXERCISE

Listen to the recording and decide which pronunciation of ‘are’ is missing?

A. ____ you busy later?
B. Well they ____ a bit silly, aren’t they?
C. What ____ we having for dinner?
D. ____ you the famous Claud Vanderhoot?
E. We ____ going to Spain again, are we?
F. What ____ you doing here?
G. Could you please tell me where they ____?
H. ____ those earrings real gold?
I. Why ____ you so upset?
J. No, Sally we ____ going to be on time.

A. /ə/ you busy later?
B. Well they /ɑ:/ a bit silly, aren’t they?
C. What /ə/ we having for dinner?
D. /ɑ:nt/ you the famous Claud Vanderhoot?
E. We /ɑ:nt/ going to Spain again, are we?
F. What /ə/ you doing here?
G. Could you please tell me where they /ɑ:/?
H. /ə/ those earrings real gold?
I. Why /ə/ you so upset?
J. No Sally, we /ɑ:nt/ going to be on time.
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