Quickly Improve English Pronunciation – To BE Contractions (+ Video)

TO BE English contractions – present tense

A contraction is the process of becoming smaller. In English, a contraction is when two or more words combine into one smaller word. The contractions for the verb TO BE are often used in English conversation and in this post you will learn the correct pronunciation with audio and video.

(You can find the video at the bottom of this post.)

What is a contraction?

To BE contractions English pronunciation

Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary – CONTRACTION

I amI’m I’m tired.”
He is He’sHe’s tired today, he worked late last night.”
She is She’sShe’s playing the piano.”
It isIt’sIt’s my favorite song.”
You areYou’reYou’re going to Italy! That’s great!”
We areWe’re“My team won! We’re the league champions!”
They areThey’re“Jack and Wendy called, they’re going to meet us at 7:30.”

For the contractions He’s/She’s/It’s – the ‘s has a Z sound.

  • He’s – Heez
  • She’s – Sheez
  • It’s – Itz 

More TO Be natural examples

My son will graduate from college next year. I’m very proud of him!

It’s getting late, I’m going to bed now.

I like birds, but not the birds who sit in the tree beside my window and chirp early in the morning. They’re too noisy!

*Chirp is a noun that means the sound that a bird makes.

A: My wife and I are going to a concert on Saturday. We’re really excited.
B: Lucky! You’re going to have a great time.

To be Negative contractions – present tense

I am – I am notI’m not
He is – He is  notHe isn’tHe’s not
She is – She is notShe isn’tShe’s not
It is – It is notIt isn’tIt’s not
You are  – You are notYou aren’tYou’re not
We are – We are notWe aren’tWe’re not
They are – They are notThey aren’tThey’re not

To BE negative contractions English pronunciation

I’m not going to the party tonight, I have to work overtime.

*Common mistake – In natural English, we don’t say “do overwork” or “I have to overwork.” If you stay later than usual at your job we say “work overtime.”

A: How about Jim? Is he coming to the party?
B: Maybe. He’s not sure what time he will finish work.

A: I hope he can make it. Ian isn’t coming either, I just called him. I’m afraid that the party will be very small.

Cathy’s not coming to the party because her car is in the shop.  She isn’t going to join us. 

*In this sentence “shop” means the repair shop. If your car is in the shop it’s being repaired.

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*We can separate the negative contraction TO BE/NOT with the adverb also.
Cathy’s also not coming to the party.” 
This has the same meaning as TO BE/NOT either but notice the grammar difference. Either is usually used at the end of a clause, (A clause is like a unit or part of a longer sentence.) TO BE also NOT will be followed by an action or adjective

To BE negative contractions - pronunciation

“Cathy is also not coming to the party.” 

Please look at the next example.

This cafe usually isn’t busy so I like to teach my one on one lessons here. It’s not expensive either, I’m surprised it’s not busier.

*It’s not expensive either, (Either ends the clause, it ends this part of the sentence.)

It’s also not expensive, (IT’S also NOT is followed by the adjective expensive.)

Learn how to use Either and Neither in natural conversation.

I’m sorry, you aren’t tall enough to ride this roller coaster.

If you’re not working tomorrow maybe we can see an afternoon movie.

A: We’re not playing an early game on Saturday so I can sleep in.
B: You’re lucky! We aren’t playing the early game on Saturday either, but our team is scheduled for the 7:00 am game on Sunday.

I’m not happy with the quality of the teams in our league this year. They aren’t very good. 

No one in the country likes the job the Prime Minister is doing this year. They just took a poll of citizens and they’re not happy!

To BE contractions English pronunciation - examples

To BE negative contractions English – questions

Negative contractions – questions

We can use negative contractions as questions.

I’m not on the meeting agenda, am I?

*On the meeting agenda means that I have a responsibility at the meeting. I need to present or talk about something during the meeting. I’m on the meeting schedule.

Alice isn’t coming to the party, is she? If I knew I would have dressed nicer!

A: Hi and welcome to the party!
B: Thanks! We’re not too late are we?

PAST tense negative questions too.

A: Dale wasn’t at the meeting this morning, was he?
B: Don’t you know? You weren’t at the meeting this morning?

A: Jason was telling everyone about the time he met Arnold Schwarzenegger at the shopping mall.
B: He’s not telling that old story again, is he? I’ve listened to that story 50 times already!

Which contraction version should I use?

There is more than one way to use some of these contractions. We learned he’s not and he isn’t in this post. 

The first version with the contracted subject with NOT (he’s not) is more common in spoken English. According to thoughtco.com:

negative contractions (are) commonly used in speech and in informal writing 


This applies to all negative contractions. (not become n’t)

  1. aren’t, isn’t, wasn’t, weren’t
  2. can’t, couldn’t, mustn’t, shouldn’t, won’t, wouldn’t
  3. didn’t, doesn’t, don’t
  4. hasn’t, haven’t, hadn’t

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To BE contractions English pronunciation Conclusion

Come back to this post anytime to review the grammar patterns and watch the video. Extra review is the best way to improve with your new language. When you watch the video try to repeat the words and match the sounds that you hear.

Watch the video below to review the grammar and improve your English listening skills! Click the image ⇩

Click HERE

The video will practice the contractions from the chart at the top of this post.

  • I’m tired.
  • She’s playing the piano.
  • He’s tired today, he worked late last night.
  • It’s my favorite song.
  • You’re going to Italy! That’s great! 
  • My team won! We’re the league champions!
  • Jack and Wendy called, they’re going to meet us at 7:30.

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