‘h’ in Function Words

Listen to the following sentence. Do we always pronounce ‘h’?

He doesn’t want her to know that it was him.
We do pronounce the ‘h’ in ‘He’ and ‘him’, but native speakers will often drop the ‘h’ in ‘her’. Read on to find out why.

When do we say ‘h’ in function words?

  • he, his, him, her, have, has, had are all function words that begin with ‘h’.
  • We do pronounce the ‘h’ if the word is at the beginning or end of a unit.
  • We usually don’t pronounce the ‘h’ if the word (a) follows a consonant sound and (b) is not at the beginning or end of the unit.


Here are some example sentences where we can drop the ‘h’:


Do we normally pronounce each ‘h’ in the following sentences?:

A. She gave him a present. B. Have you seen the turtles swimming? C. He didn’t do it because he lost his nerve. D. Did you know Pat has bought a house? E. They took the parcel away, but it was actually for him. F. If only Pete had been more careful. G. But it’s her only chance! H. Shall we go with her?

A. him (no) B. Have (yes) C. He (yes), he (no), his (no), D. has (no – and even more commonly abbreviated to ‘Pat’s’) E. him (yes) F. had (no) G. her (no) H. her (yes)