Silent < h > is very common in spoken English. There are two types of silent < h >:
1. Words that always contain silent < h >
2. Words that start with silent < h > in connected speech.
Before we look at these two groups, it’s worth noting that in many regional accents of English, people never say /h/ – for these speakers, every < h > is silent.
1. Common words that always contain silent < h >
2. Words that start with silent < h > in connected speech:
Function words that start with < h > such as HE, HER, HAVE, HIM tend to lose the /h/ if the word is unstressed and doesn’t appear at the beginning or end of the sentence/unit:
What have you done?
That’s her uncle.
Have you seen him today?
Ask if he’s coming for lunch.
Dropping these < h > is typical of all native English speakers, regardless of where they are from. However, in slow speech, or if the word is stressed, the /h/ will be pronounced:
WHAT HAVE YOU DONE!!!!????
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