Contractions and Pronunciation in the IELTS Speaking Test

by PullingOne

Hello IELTS Buddy,

Academic IELTS questions:

1) Contractions:

My question is about contractions in speaking sections of academic IELTS. Is it good idea to use I'll, we'd, etc.?

What about words such as wanna, gonna, etc.?

Also, one native speaker said that in daily life some phrases are not pronounced as it is written in transcription, e.g. "Do you like..." can be pronounced jә/ju laik..., or "a cup of tea" – әkәpә ti:.

Is it not a good idea to pronounce them like that?

2) Pronunciation like Native Speaker

Does it affect my speaking section score, if I pronounce some sounds not like native speakers, but with different versions.

I mean, sometimes I pronounce the sound i like ә or e, e.g. the word "system": I've got used to pronounce it like sistem or sistәm (the last vowel sound).

Also, sometimes I mistakenly pronounce æ sound, instead a:.

Does this mispronunciations affects my score?

Best regards, PullingOne

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Jan 11, 2017
Getting it right
by: IELTS buddy

Hi PullingOne,


The examiner is looking for naturally sounding speaking, and in normal everyday speech we use contractions.

So yes, it is better to use them.

That includes everything such as "wanna, gonna" etc.

So that goes the same for what your friend said - yes we don't pronounce things exactly as they are written.


With pronunciation, there are certain ways that (most...) native speakers say things, which can be represented by phonemic script as you showed.

So of course the closer you are to those sounds, the closer you are to sounding like a 'native speaker', if you want to use that as a benchmark.

You are graded on your pronunciation, so it is possible it could affect your score if you are pronouncing things incorrectly.

But it is impossible to say to what extent, if at all, what you are actually doing is affecting your score.

You are marked over the whole test - a few errors might not make much different, more errors and more obvious ones will do, but it will vary for everyone.

Jan 21, 2017
Using Contractions and Pronunciation
by: DR HPSSandhu

IELTS is a test taken worldwide and obviously the accent and pronunciation differ from country to country, so it is not expected that the exam taker speaks only in British at American accent.

He / she is more comfortable in his own country's way of speaking. Its a question of how correct and comfortable you are in making the structures correctly and your dealing with the language comfortably, your body language and confidence when you speak.

You should not distort your natural accent, instead give synonyms, a wide range of vocabulary, and use simple and short sentences. It is a great misconception that high sounding or ornamental words can get you good bands.

Using contracted words beautify your language when you speak and enhance your performance so the beat mantra is when you write, expand and when you speak contract the words. Slang is not allowed.

Jan 25, 2017
sound changef at 10 km
by: Anonymous

Yes, being international language it is pronounced many ways. But IELTS/Tofel should avoid. In India it is said language sound is changing at every 10 km.

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