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 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.

Are these contractions in the Cambridge dictionary? Yes, they are. Follow the links: wanna and gonna.

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


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


  • 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:

  1. in speaking
  2. informal writing, such as a letter to a friend or a personal email

However, they are NOT used:

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

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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  1. 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

  2. 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.

  3. 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,

    • You are not marked on your ideas. So, don’t worry. The examiner only marks you on your level of English language.

  4. dheerajsetia says:

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

  5. MATHEW JOSE says:

    Really helpful site for everyone who ever taking the IELTS exam

  6. Akinsanya Adebayo says:

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

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

  8. 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.

  9. thank you very much teacher

  10. 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

  11. 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.

  12. 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

  13. 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.

  14. 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

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

  16. Thank you Liz for helpful tips!!

  17. 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

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

  18. 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.

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


  20. Aneesh Kumar K says:

    Is ukvi is acceptable all European countries? ?

  21. He will = he’ s ???????????

  22. 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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