The preposition of has two forms. The weak form /əv/ and the strong form /ɒv/.
The spelling of this word is strange because it uses an F instead of a V. However, English spelling is always strange, so this is not very surprising!
We usually use the weak form of this word. We use the strong form when the word is stressed or when it appears without a Complement afterwards:
- I'm thinking of you. /əv/
- What are you thinking of? /ɒv/
In the first example, the word of is followed by its Complement, the word you. We use the weak form here. In the second example, the word of is at the end of the sentence. There is no noun phrase or other Complement after the word. We use a strong form here.
In relaxed casual speech, the weak form of the word of may sometimes be reduced to a schwa, /ə/ or just to /v/:
- "a bottle ə water"
- "a bottle v water"