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– Compare the pronunciations of the word ‘from’ in this dialogue:

Answer

In “Where are you from?” the pronunciation of “from” is strong: /frɒm/. 

In “I’m from London.” the pronunciation of “from” is weak: /frəm/. 

Many function words have 2 possible pronunciations, a weak pronunciation and a strong pronunciation:

The weak pronunciation is normally used in connected speech:

“I’m from London.” /frəm/
“We’ll manage for now.” /fə/

The strong pronunciation is normally used for one of the following three reasons:

i) the function word is at the end of a unit/sentence:

“Where are you from?” /frɒm/ 
“I don’t know what it is for.” /fɔː/ 

ii) the function word is emphasised 

“It’s French in style but it isn’t from France.” /frɒm/ 
FOR THE LAST TIME!” /fɔː/ 

iii) the function word is in isolation

From.” /frɒm/
For.” /fɔː/

– Decide if the underlined word has its weak or strong pronunciation:

1.

A) Can we go to the shops now?      weak

B) You can. I’m staying in.                strong

2.

A) I don’t know who these clothes are for.

B) They’re not for me.

 

3.

A) That is some building. 

B) It needs some work on the roof though. 

4.

A) Your shirt’s dirty!

B) Well your trousers are torn.

5.  

A) Shall we go to the cinema?

B) I don’t really want to. 

6. 

A) Ask them if they’d like to join us. 

B) Them? No way. 

7. 

A) What are you doing?

B) Are you sure you want to know?

8.

A) Look, I’ve got money and nice clothes. 

B) And? I’m not going to go out with you.

 

Answers

1.

A) Can we go to the shops now?      weak

B) You can. I’m staying in.                strong

2.

A) I don’t know who these clothes are for.  strong

B) They’re not for me. weak

 

3.

A) That is some building.   strong

B) It needs some work on the roof though. weak

4.

A) Your shirt’s dirty! weak

B) Well your trousers are torn.  strong

5.  

A) Shall we go to the cinema? weak

B) I don’t really want to.   strong

6. 

A) Ask them if they’d like to join us. weak

B) Them? No way.   strong

7. 

A) What are you doing?  strong

B) Are you sure you want to know? weak

8.

A) Look, I’ve got money and nice clothes.  weak

B) And? I’m not going to go out with you.  strong