Pronunciation of won’t, want
Before we look at the pronunciation of want and won’t, let’s look at how the two words differ in meaning:
- want means ‘desire something’ or ‘wish for something’: I want to stay here, he wants to speak, etc.
- won’t is a contraction of ‘will not’, used to express the future: I won’t be here tomorrow, etc.
Here is the difference in pronunciation (you’ll hear that won’t has a longer vowel than want):
|won’t (will not)||/wəʊnt/||won’t
Tip – listen to what follows!
One way to tell whether the speaker said want or won’t is to listen to the construction that follows:
After won’t we use the bare infinitive:
- I won’t help
- She won’t sleep
- They won’t go.
After want we use to + verb infinitive:
- I want to help
- She wants to sleep
- They want to go.
Listen to these two examples and try to hear the ‘to’ after want:
I won’t have / I want to have .
What is ‘wanna’?
Wanna is a shortened form of want to. It’s used in spoken English—very often in American English—and is informal:
- I wanna go = ‘I want to go’
- Do you wanna talk to me? = ‘Do you want to talk to me?’
Be careful! We don’t use wanna with the third person singular (he, she) because of the ‘s’ on the end of the verb:
He wants to go.
She wants to be.