American English Phonetics

Another American English Faculty Project

The second column gives the SF, the third the WF, and the fourth column gives an illustration of the use of the WF.

In the table below the SFs and the WFs of the remaining auxiliary-forms are given.

  SF WF Example
are ɑr ər The boys are there
be biː bi I’ll be there
was wʌz wəz Mary was here
were wɜr wər We were all ill
do duː Do they know this?
    Before V: du Do I?
does dʌz dəz Does Alice like it?
can kæn kən They can go now
could kʊd kəd He could do it
must mʌst məs Must John?
    Before V: məst Must  Uncle Arnold?
should ʃʊd ʃəd Mary should know better

Do not confuse the auxiliaries do and have with the lexical verbs do and have, which are not gradation words:

  • He does /dʌz/ the cooking and I do /duː/ the washing up
  • She had /hæd/ a hat on
  • He had /hæd/ a house built
  • I have /hæv/ a holding once a year

Recall that been is always /bɪn/, never /biːn/, as in British English.