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PRONUNCIATIONS OF CAN

 
 

This verb is rather special in phonetics because it may be pronounced in different ways, and it is very important to make the difference or nobody will understand if you say it in the affirmative or in the negative, so here are some explanations and videos.

CAN / CAN'T

The most important thing is to know that the difference between CAN and CAN'T is not the T, because the T usually disappears in a normal conversation. The most important thing to know if it's affirmative or negative is not the T, it is the vowel:

AB CAN--> Usually, we don't pronounce the vowel, so it sounds /kn/

CAN'T--> Usually, we don't pronounce the final T, but we pronounce the vowel in the middle strong and clear. Now, about this vowel, there's a difference between standard British accent and American accent:

BrE Standard British English pronounces this with the vowel in CAR  

AmE American English (and some non-standard varieties of BrE) pronounce this with the vowel in CAT

But, as you can see, the real important thing is to pronounce or not to pronounce a vowel between K and N. Here's a video in American English showing you this difference AmE:

 


You can hear the difference between CAN and CAN'T in this easy song by The Beatles (cover from the movie "Accross the Universe")  BrE:



Notice the sound of CAN and CAN'T in the song:

There's nothing you can do that can't be done.
Nothing you can sing that can't be sung.
Nothing you can say but you can learn how to play the game
It's easy

There's nothing you can make that can't be made
No one you can save that can't be saved
Nothing you can do, but you can learn how to be in time
It's easy

All you need is love
All you need is love
All you need is love, love
Love is all you need

Love, love, love
Love, love, love

There's nothing you can know that can't be known
Nothing you can see that isn't shown
No where you can be that isn't where you're meant to be
It's easy

All you need is love
All you need is love
All you need is love, love
Love is all you need
(x3)

Love is all you need (x14)

All you need is love, love
Love is all you need

MORE VIDEOS

American English:

British English:



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