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IELTS Speaking Using Contractions: wanna, gonna

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 (or more) words to make them shorter and make them flow together when speaking. “It is” = “it’s” or “want to” = “wanna”. Most contractions are used in informal speaking. Is the IELTS speaking test formal or informal? The IELTS speaking is 100% informal.

  • Part 1 is informal short answer questions
  • Part 2 is an informal talk
  • Part 3 is an informal discussion on broader current issues
    • This means informal language is fine to use in all parts of the test.

They are an accepted part of SPOKEN English. One student pointed out that they even heard contractions used by the BBC and the British Royal Family – this is true.

Using Wanna / Gonna

Yes, it’s fine to use contractions (words joined in pronunciation) in the IELTS speaking test. In fact, it will boost your score for pronunciation.

  • want to = wanna
    • I really wanna go to the cinema tonight.
    • The majority of students wanna 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.

Wanna and gonna are only used in spoken English and NOT in formal writing. The reason is that “wanna” and “gonna” are pronunciation features – it is how we pronounce “want to” but it is not how we write it in formal written English. It is fine to use these words in your IELTS speaking test and in fact will help with your pronunciation band score. Are these contractions in the Cambridge dictionary? Yes, they are. Follow the links: wanna and gonna.

IELTS Speaking Pronunciation

Pronunciation is 25% of your marks for IELTS speaking. This means the way you pronounce sounds, words and sentences is marked in your speaking test. Part of that does include linking sounds and linking words, such as gonna, wanna, it’s and doesn’t. So, try to learn these contractions and use them naturally in your test.

Common  List of Contractions

To Be

  • 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

To Have

  • I have = I’ve
  • you have = you’ve
  • he has = he’s
  • etc

Will

  • I will = I’ll
  • you will = you’ll
  • he will = he’ll
  • etc

Negatives

  • 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

Remember, these contractions are NOT used:

  1. in formal writing, such as in IELTS writing task 2
  2. report writing
  3. formal letters or business letters

But they are good to use in IELTS speaking. Contractions can also be used in informal writing, such as GT writing task 1 informal letters.

Advanced Contractions

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:

  1. I should’ve finished my homework last night but I didn’t.
  2. He wouldn’t’ve gone traveling if he’d’ve known how expensive it was gonna be.
  3. 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.
  4. If you’re gonna learn a language, then improve your pronunciation.

 

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Comments

  1. Hi Liz,

    Just saw something that may have been written in error;

    IELTS Speaking Pronunciation – last line
    “So, try to learn these contractions ARE use them naturally in your test”. The word are should read “and”.

    Thanks

  2. Hi Liz, does that mean it is fine to use the contractions in GT Writing – Task 1 but not in Task 2?

    • You can use contractions such as “it’s” or “doesn’t” in an informal letter for GT, but NOT for a formal letter. You cannot use gonna or wanna in any writing.

  3. Hi Lez, Should I use the Arabic pronunciation of my name or my English one? As the letter A is pronounced differently in my language.

    • The examiner will ask your name to check your ID card – just make sure the examiner can understand. It is part of the ID check, not part of the test.

  4. Harpreet says:

    Dear Liz,
    If we are allowed to say GrandMa & GrandPaa in our speaking modules as i’m confused whether i can use them ?
    Thanks
    Dr Harpreet

  5. Hi Liz, is it okay to not using contractions, for example, instead of using “won’t” can I use “will not”?

    Thanks

  6. Hi ,

    How about using other contractions in informal letters such as I’d,I’ve,I’ll,…?

    Thanks for your patience

  7. Hi,
    Can I use wanna and gonna in an informal letter.

  8. Hi Liz,
    I really appreciate your kind help. Your work towards this field is commendable.
    I have a doubt, if you can help me out?
    Can I use ‘ya’ instead of ‘yes’ in IELTS speaking?
    Thanks a lot for sharing great lessons.

  9. Hi Liz,

    I have a quick question that hopes you can help answer. Should I make a conclusion in the end of the part 2 speaking?

    Thanks for your advice in advance.
    Nhan

    • The IELTS speaking test is not formal – it is informal. Your part 2 talk is not formal either – it does not require a conclusion.

  10. Kruti Dholakia says:

    Hi,
    Liz,

    today I have given my speaking test, in part 3 i was asked about “why people are moving towards extreme sports now days? actully i didnot know that what all sports are considered as extreme sports, so I have just given the reply considering sports, will it affect my score ?

  11. uwandu evan says:

    compliments of the season Liz, your responses are awesome

  12. Hi Liz.
    I absolutely love your teaching. I feel like i’m well prepared already for my test in January 2018 because of this site. And thanks for clearing this up, i mean about ”wanna” and ”gonna”.
    But i’d love to ask about ”ain’t”, is it allowed in speaking part too?
    Thank you in advance.

    • “ain’t” is only from Southern English slang. It is better not to use it. Some examiners might not be familiar with it.

  13. Thank u so much Liz for proper guidance

  14. That’s interesting I was on the fence about ‘gonna’ and ‘wanna’ but things like “I’ve, he’s, they’re” are definitely better than a laboured full pronunciation which could actually cause confusion.

    How about cudda shudda wudda?

    • Absolutely fine to use cudda and shudda in speaking. These are not words, as in written words. They are methods of linking words and sounds together to form fluid speech. The examiner will mark: linking sounds, chunking language, sentence stress etc.

  15. Simran johal says:

    Thnku Liz for ur helpful tips

  16. arslan zahid says:

    thank you Liz thank u so much i see ist tym ur web site today and get the many information about IELTS. acctually, i m also a student of IELTS and i were wanted to prepare a assignment of IELTS and i searchout the topic and saw your website and oppened and get the more information.

    • Sorry for correcting you, but I am seeing many mistakes in your paragraph. For instance: I were wanted, and I search out. practice more and read more. just saying

  17. Hi.
    Can I use contractions while speaking test??
    Like, use of “don’t” instead of “do not” .
    Respond me soon cause I’m very confused about it..
    Regards Amrinder Singh dhammu

  18. Dear Liz,
    I was wondering if candidates would be better off correcting themselves on the spot or just let it go as the examiner might not have understood the mistake.
    What do you think?
    Thanks ahead dear.

    • If you think the examiner might misunderstand what you say, you can repeat it again using other words …” In other words” or “what I mean is…”. Otherwise, it’s best to continue. Any hesitation will affect your score in fluency which is 25% of your marks.

    • Charity Amoako says:

      i think it will be better of if candidates are allowed to correct themselves on the spot.

  19. Hi Liz, i would like to ask you something about speaking part. If my answer is not really answering for the question but keep talking smoothly, how does the score will be affected? I know obviously it is not good idea to answer something irrelevant for the question but there is no such a criteria to reduce a score if candidate answer wrong way.

    Today i took the exam and examier asked me why food is so important for celebration? And i was answering that , well , food is a fundamental element to have an energy so many types of food make them happy when joining any celebrity and different countries have different food so that … And examier stopped me. I was on the way to explain but if they stopped this timing, i feel they regard me as if i started to speaking a different topic. Actually they stopped 4times in 14mins so worried about if my answer is not answering for the question, how will it be affected for the score?

    Thanks in advance,

  20. dheerajsetia says:

    thano you very much Liz
    please help me in writing
    and tell the ways how to acomplete the writing task 2

  21. MATHEW JOSE says:

    Really helpful site for everyone who ever taking the IELTS exam

  22. Akinsanya Adebayo says:

    Hi , how can I get you online tutoring and how much does it cost .

  23. I am a beginner in ielts. I extent my sincere gratitude to you for your valuable information…………..

  24. Thank you Liz for ur website.i want your help I’m doing my IELTS on the 25th of June and I hv no idea of anything in this test pleas teach m or help m in any kind

    • There are 300 page of free IELTS tips and practice on my blog – go through the main pages on the red nav bar at the top of the website.

  25. thank you very much teacher

  26. dear mam, i’ve a problem in speaking because when i practise speaking, i mostly use aaaaa word,and some time i get confuse in part 2 ,everything get mix when i try to speak

  27. Binod Jung Katuwal says:

    I went through youtube videos and found out yours too. It was very informative. Great Work. Thanks

    • You’re welcome 🙂

      • Hello, Liz. I would like to ask you is it right to ask any questions from examiner in 3rd part of speaking ? I heard that a candidate has a right to ask some questions about topic that is like a dialogue

        • You can ask the examiner to explain the question or repeat the question in part 3. But this is not the time to ask the examiner for their point of view. This is your test and each minute counts for you to demonstrate your English.

  28. E.nasiri says:

    Hi dear liz
    Thanks a lot for your help
    I am very weak at listening and speaking , but my reading and writing are to some extent good.
    How can I improve my speaking and listening at home? I listened a lot so far but it doesnot work so much

  29. Dear liz mam,

    Hi mam, how r u. Mam i want to know that u said in the reading and listening part, the answers are picked up by the computers. The answers are not checked by the human being. So, mam could you please give some suggestion to get 8.5 bands in both the exams. Beacause we have to score 38 out of 40 in both the test to get the desired band. But mam how- that is my question? As practise module are different than the real ielts exams. And we have to score 38 correct answers in the real ielts exam. Plz mam give some suggestion i am very much in tense.

  30. We do really appreciate your dedication and commitment. I would like to know kindly if there’s anyway I can contact the British Counil by email, because I made an enquiry for re- mark, and it came back with no change whatsoever, even though I’m very confident that I did well especially in speaking and listening, I asked for the four parts. I know it’s final but just I couldn’t trust the result from the college here, as I didn’t receive my result online the first time and also they spelled my first name wrong, besides the form has a copied signature . Please Liz advice me

  31. Hi Liz. Thank you greatly for your information on contractions. I’m very pleased for knowing about advanced contractions.

  32. Thank you Liz for helpful tips!!

  33. Javanmard says:

    Dear Liz
    Thank you very much for your very excellent efforts. I want to know if you have any school or academic agent for learning English for foreign people?

    best regards
    Javanmard

    • Sorry I don’t have any English lessons at the moment. Hopefully in the future I will focus on developing English lessons.

  34. Hello !
    Dear online teacher Liz ,I would like to express many thanks and appreciation for you allocating your precious time for us .
    I have been learned many crucial information by your advice . …. . I’ve got 6.5 band score from speaking and now I really wanna get 7.5 or higher band score from speaking . I always utilize construction Wanna and Gonna . Miss Liz could you help to get that high score which I mentioned above please . Thank you so much

    • Go to the band score page (see the link in the right hand column) and start learning how the examiner marks your speaking – that will help you develop in the right way.

  35. Would you mind explaining about “imma”,please? What would be the contraction for this?

    Thanks!

  36. Aneesh Kumar K says:

    Is ukvi is acceptable all European countries? ?

  37. He will = he’ s ???????????

  38. Shefali Gokhale says:

    Thank you very much, Liz.

    You are posting a helpful tips for speaking . Also love that you are in constant toch with me.
    Thanks a lot.

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