Every language has shortcuts (short forms) of two words put together to sound like one word. We all use shortcuts in our mother language, not because we are lazy (not giving effort, energy) but because we sometimes put two words together so often (a lot), we say them fast. When we say it fast, it sounds like one, new word. In English, this is called spoken English.
Non-native speakers have problems understanding these shortcuts – this spoken English. That is normal! Once (after) you know what the shortcuts are, you can understand the spoken English better.
These shortcuts are not used in formal writing, only in speaking or informal situations.
Here are a few of our favorites to look out for!
Hafta/Havta or Hasta
Havta/Hafta is a combination of have and to and hasta is a combination of has and to. It’s used the same way as have to or has to in a sentence.
- I haveta go. I’m gonna (going to) be late.
- I haveta call my mom later.
- She hasta go – the train is here!
Shoulda is the spoken English version of should and have. Many people will write “should of” instead of should have, which is incorrect. Make sure when you write it out, you write it out properly (correctly)!
- I shoulda gone when I had the chance. Now it’s too late.
- You shoulda been here last night! It was so much fun.
- He shoulda called earlier. Now there are no more free tables at the restaurant.
Gonna is a combination of going and to. It’s used the same way as you would use the phrase going to.
- I’m gonna go to the store later. Do you need anything?
- He’s gonna send you an email later.
- I’m not sure if she’s gonna eat now or later.
Didja is the combination of did and you. This is a very common contraction. We’re sure you’ll hear it often.
- Didja read the new Bespeaking blog last Thursday?
- Didja have fun yesterday?
- Didja call your mom on Sunday?
Gotta is a conjunction of got and to which always follows “have/has”. It’s quite similar to haveta in a way.
- I’ve gotta run! I’ll see you later.
- He’s gotta drop by the house, then he’ll come by after.
- I’ve gotta get at least (at the minimum) 80% on my test to pass the class.
Kinda / Sorta
Kinda is the combination of kind and of. Sorta is the combination of sort and of. Both of these words mean a little, or a tendency (want, pull) to want to do something.
- I kinda feel like Mexican food tonight.
- The waiter was sorta rude. I’m going to talk to the manager.
- You look kinda sick. Should we sit down?
Wanna is a variation of the phrase want to. It’s easier in spoken English to say wanna, so you will hear this all the time!
- Wanna go to lunch tomorrow?
- Wanna hear what happened last night?
- I kinda wanna go to the movies tonight. What about you?
Whatcha is an interesting spoken English term (word). Whatcha is the very lazy way of saying what are you. It’s always used in the question form.
- Whatcha doing?
- Whatcha up to? Can I join?
Where d’ja is a combination of where did/do you. Like whatcha, it is also always used in a question.
- Where d’ja go on vacation?
- Where d’ja put the keys? I can’t find them.
- Where d’ja wanna go to dinner tonight? What’d ya (What do you) feel like?
This spoken English word one is very common in my family. It’s part of my family’s accent, but I had to include it in this list. The meaning of djeet yet might surprise you! It’s the question: did you eat yet?, which I know is bad grammar, but it’s what we say!
- Djeet yet? We’re about to make dinner.
- Djeet yet? If not, we have some sandwich stuff.
Have you ever heard any of these spoken English phrases while talking to a native speaker? Did you understand them? Share your experience with us in the comments below!