stressed ,and one when they are not. Compare:
- I got up at /at/six o’clock.
What are you looking at? /’aet/
Most of these words_are prepositions, pronouns, conjunctions, articles and auxiliary verbs. They are not usually stressed, so the unstressed (‘weak’) pronunciation is the usual one. This usually has the vowel /a/ or no vowel. The ‘strong’ pronunciation has the ‘written’ vowel. Compare:
- I was late. /w(a)z/
It was raining /w(a)z/
Yes, I was. /wdz/
I must go now. /m(a)s/
I really’must stop smoking. /rriASt/
Where have you been? /(a)v/
You might have told me. /(a)v/
What did you have for breakfast? /haev/
(Have is not an auxiliary verb in this sentence.)
Contracted negatives always have a strong pronunciation.
can’t /ka:nt/ mustn’t /’mAsnt/ wasn’t /’wDznt/