Should you use contractions in your IELTS speaking test? Will you get a lower mark if you use contractions like “gonna”?
What are contractions?
A contraction is when you combine two words to make them shorter. It is = it’s. Most contractions are used in speaking and sometimes in informal writing.
Wonna / Gonna
- want to = wanna
- I really wonna go to the cinema tonight.
- The majority of students wonna travel before starting university.
- going to = gonna
- He’s gonna visit his grandmother this evening.
- The local council are gonna improve the roads in this area.
Wonna and gonna are only used in spoken English and not in formal writing (see below).
It is fine to use these words in your IELTS speaking test and in fact will help with your pronunciation band score.
Common List of Contractions
- I am = I’m
- you are = you’re
- he is = he’s
- she is = she’s
- it is = it’s
- we are = we’re
- they are = they’re
- I have = I’ve
- you have = you’ve
- he has = he’s
- I will = I’ll
- you will = you’ll
- he will = he’ll
- is not = isn’t
- are not = aren’t
- does not = doesn’t
- did not = didn’t
- has not = hasn’t
- have not = haven’t
- should not = shouldn’t
- would not = wouldn’t
- could not = couldn’t
The contractions above for the verb to be, the verb to have, will and negatives are all used:
- in speaking
- informal writing, such as a letter to a friend or a personal email
However, they are NOT used:
- in formal writing, such as in IELTS writing task 2
- report writing
- formal letters or business letters
The contractions below are only used in speaking and NOT in writing. It is good to use these types of contractions in IELTS speaking.
- I should have = I should’ve
- should not have = shouldn’t’ve
- I could have = I could’ve
- I could not have = I couldn’t’ve
- I would have = I would’ve
- I would not have = I wouldn’t’ve
Example Sentences Using Contractions:
- I should’ve finished my homework last night but I didn’t.
- He wouldn’t’ve gone traveling if he’d’ve known how expensive it was gonna be.
- The government should’ve developed better public transportation. If they wanna limit global warming, they need to limit the use of cars and the best way is to provide cheaper and more efficient bus services.
- If you’re gonna learn a language, then improve your pronunciation.
IELTS Speaking Pronunciation
Pronunciation is 25% of your marks for IELTS speaking. This means the way you pronounce sounds, words and sentences. Part of that does include linking sounds and linking words, such as gonna, wonna, it’s and doesn’t. So, try to learn these contractions are use them naturally in your test.
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