IELTS 8.0 Speaking: Not using contractions can sound angry.

Is having an accent such a bad thing?¬†Many students never learn to pronounce English words properly. I’m not talking about the sounds you make when you mispronounce a vowel or a consonant, everybody who speaks English has an accent. Accents are good and to be honest, native speakers find them attractive. Instead, I’m talking about linked English and intonation patterns.

You already know how to contract a sentence like:

I am sure she is not dating him.
I’m sure she isn’t dating him.

But did you know if you don’t use the contractions you could sound angry and rude?

In the featured video for this blog post, the two characters have the following conversation:

Sally: I think Jack is going out with Gillian.
Tom: Gillian isn’t going out with Jack.
Sally: I think she is.
Tom: No she is not.
Sally: How d’you know?
Tom: Gillian is not going out with Jack!

(going out with = having a romantic relationship with)

In order to show his frustration and bad mood, Tom takes all the contractions out of his last sentence pronouncing each word separately and distinctly.

Does speaking without contractions always sound angry? No. But when we speak without contractions, we sound unnatural, and sometimes it can be mistaken for anger. Remember also, sentences without contractions are used in written English, so, if you do not use them when speaking you risk sounding like a book.

So, why is this important in IELTS? Because the examiner will be looking for you to make contractions in the speaking test, to show you know how to speak English naturally (and politely). If you want a high band in IELTS speaking this is something that can make a significant difference to your score.

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