accent in "how much is it?" and "I'm on it"

ciccirocco

New Member
italiano
I've heard "how much is' it?" lots of times, but I've always known it was "how mu'ch is it?" , considering the accent as ' .
Which one is the correct way to spell? does it depend on the context?

And equally, why is it "I'm on' it" and not "I'm on it' " ?
 
  • Keith Bradford

    Senior Member
    English (Midlands UK)
    Firstly, "it" is very rarely stressed, except in such idioms as "She thinks she's it" (= she's snobbish) and "She's got it" (= she has sex-appeal). If you want to emphasise the thing that "it" refers to, you'll often choose to say "that" instead. Or in the case of sex-appeal, those! :rolleyes:)

    Of the two versions "How much is it?" and "How much is it?", the former is much more common.
     

    ciccirocco

    New Member
    italiano
    Firstly, "it" is very rarely stressed, except in such idioms as "She thinks she's it" (= she's snobbish) and "She's got it" (= she has sex-appeal). If you want to emphasise the thing that "it" refers to, you'll often choose to say "that" instead. Or in the case of sex-appeal, those! :rolleyes:)

    Of the two versions "How much is it?" and "How much is it?", the former is much more common.
    Thank you! :)

    I'd like to ask one more question, just not to create another discussion.. so If I may ask..

    does this accents matter work with the american word "can't" too ?
    Examples :
    1)"I can do it"
    2)"I can't do it"

    When you hear it in the american way, they totally sound the same (thank God british accent pronounces "kant" and not "kent") .

    Could I maybe find out that the first one is "I can do it" and the second one is "I can't do it" ? I can't really distinguish when they talk.. It's just too fast to say..
     

    Keith Bradford

    Senior Member
    English (Midlands UK)
    Sorry, I entirely agree with you over the confusion that Americans seem to sow with their pronunciations of can and can't. So far as I can tell, the difference is in vowel-length (can is shorter) and not stress. Briefly, it sounds to me like:

    1)"I can do it" pronounced I kin du i.
    2)"I can't do it" pronounced I ken du i OR I ken du i.
     

    entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    Normally 'can' is unaccented, and has a neutral vowel: [kən]. The negative 'can't' has a full vowel. So this is usually the difference between the two in both BrE and AmE. However, I have the same problem as you: an AmE speaker might be stressing the word 'can' or 'can't', in which case they are practically the same before the [d] of 'do'.
     

    ciccirocco

    New Member
    italiano
    these americans... :cool:

    I prefer british english all life, because they almost ever pronounce words just as they should be, and they spell the "t" consonant like in "waTer", and not like americans "war'r". How can even a "t" turn into an "r" ? XD

    Thank you for your answers
     

    Keith Bradford

    Senior Member
    English (Midlands UK)
    Normally 'can' is unaccented, and has a neutral vowel: [kən]. The negative 'can't' has a full vowel. So this is usually the difference between the two in both BrE and AmE. However, I have the same problem as you: an AmE speaker might be stressing the word 'can' or 'can't', in which case they are practically the same before the [d] of 'do'.
    I slightly disagree; the British vowels are always clearly distinguished from each other whether accented or not:

    Can - accented [kæn] - unaccented [kən]
    Can't - accented [kɑ:nt] - unaccented [kɑ:nt]
     
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