pronunciation: Should/could/would/must + have ['ve]

Bryan05

Senior Member
Español peruano ribereño
Hello everyone,

I'd like to ask for your help with this stuff. According to, pronunciation, yesterday I told my teacher: "Miss, I've heard that in American English thet don't pronounce the "h" when they say "should have", "could have" and "would have"."

My teacher said that not only does it happen in American English but also in British, Australian, universal English.

So, it was something really interesting for me. I suppose that in the everyday conversation you omit the "h" when saying: "Should/could/would have", don't you?

PD: Have I made any mistakes in my paragraph?
 
  • Matching Mole

    Senior Member
    England, English
    These forms are very often contracted in speech, and as such, can be spelt "would've", etc. This sounds something like "woulduv" (a schwa sound before the v). Here, there is a somewhat greater change than simply dropping the aitch.

    Even in casual speech, though, the words may be spoken out in full, particularly if emphasizing the modal verb. In this case, I would say, the aitch is likely to be pronounced, unless the speaker habitually drops aitches. So, generally, either the phrase is contracted, or the aitch is pronounced.
     

    AER1018

    Member
    USA
    American English
    I don't know about anyone else, but I pronouce the "h." I'm pretty sure every American English speaker does. I feel that you are thinking about the contractions of these words. Should've, would've, and could've are all the contractions of these words. As you can tell, the "h" is not pronouced. I think you were mistaken.
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    I don't think you're mistaken, Bryan. Most of the time, most English speakers pronounce the combination would+have etc in its contracted form: in other words we drop the "h" (and turn the vowel into a schwa). We'd only pronounce the "h" if we were speaking carefully for some reason.
     

    JamesM

    Senior Member
    What Matching Mole said holds true for American English as well. If it is contracted the "h" is dropped, but it would be odd to say, "I would 'ave" with a short "a" sound.
     

    losvedir

    Senior Member
    English - California
    Hello everyone,

    I'd like to ask for your help with this stuff. According to, pronunciation, yesterday I told my teacher: "Miss, I've heard that in American English thet don't pronounce the "h" when they say "should have", "could have" and "would have"."

    My teacher said that not only does it happen in American English but also in British, Australian, universal English.

    So, it was something really interesting for me. I suppose that in the everyday conversation you omit the "h" when saying: "Should/could/would have", don't you?

    PD: Have I made any mistakes in my paragraph?

    I agree with everyone else: sometimes I say the full "could/would/should have", but sometimes not. But I don't just drop the h. I change the vowel so it sounds something like "should of". In fact, if you search Google you'll see a lot of results for "should of" (which is incorrect) because that's how people often pronounce it. I sometimes even drop the "v" sound and just say "could-uh".

    Also, as for your last question: I think you should say "in everyday conversation" instead of "in the everyday conversation".
     

    Wilma_Sweden

    Senior Member
    Swedish (Scania)
    339,000 hits for 'I would of'!!! 20,000,000 for 'I would have'.... I always wonder how many English classes they skipped, and I'm ever so grateful I didn't have to learn English spelling as a child, particularly with the schwa representing just about any vowel in the English alphabet... :D

    /Wilma
     

    ewie

    Senior Member
    English English
    I imagine (without any evidence, or research) that I could of done it [etc.] is probably one of the commonest mistakes in English ... written by native speakers.
     

    Wilma_Sweden

    Senior Member
    Swedish (Scania)

    JamesM

    Senior Member
    Just as a side note, when I saw this thread title I thought it might be about a very common saying in AE: "Shoulda, coulda, woulda" (with the "a" pronounced "uh"). It's a short comment meaning "I might have done something different if I had known then what I know now" or "That's all water under the bridge, nothing can be done about it now."
     

    txutxinho

    Member
    Spanish - Argentina
    I think I've learnt how to pronounce "should've, would've, and could've" in this thread.
    Matching Mole Explained:
    These forms are very often contracted in speech, and as such, can be spelt "would've", etc. This sounds something like "woulduv" (a schwa sound before the v).


    I wonder if someone can help me with this contraction: "
    MUST'VE".
    How is it pronounced in AMERICAN ENGLISH?

    Thank you friends!
    :)
     
    Last edited:

    natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    The weak forms of have are /həv/, /əv/ or /v/.

    As it's spelt without the <h>, I would imagine /'mʌstəv/ there. I don't think there's an AmE-BrE difference there.
     

    txutxinho

    Member
    Spanish - Argentina
    Thank you natkretep!

    I'm not sure if there's an AmE-BrE difference either. But I saw a british guy on YouTube pronoucing somthing like this: /'mʌstʌ/

    May be your example: /'mʌstəv/ it's more AmE than BrE. But I'm not sure.

    Thank you!
     

    natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    I would say that the version without the /v/ is very informal, and occurs in AmE too. Sometimes, to indicate this pronunciation, people write musta.
     
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