Is it [weriz] or [weəriz]? In case of ‘there is’ I'm almost sure there is no schwa, but I'm not sure it's the same with ‘where is’.

To avoid disambiguations I have to add that I'm interested in British pronunciation of it.

Tell me, please, is Peter Shor right saying ‘I'm sure it's pronounced both ways’? And what way is more frequent? Or it first of all depends on a person and some people tend to usually use one way and some use the other?

  • Huh? Are you asking if it’s one vowel or the other, or whether you can use both together? Your second example looks like it has three syllables. That is not a possible pronunciation that I know of. When I saw this title I thought you were going to ask about [hw] vs. [w] (either of these can be the initial consonant) but there is only one vowel before the [r].
    – Mixolydian
    Mar 28, 2019 at 13:24
  • Yes, my question was whether it's /e/ or /eə/ (two vowels together, or a diphthong). So, you think there's no schwa. Thanks, that was what I also seemed to hear from native speakers and, I guess, copied myself. But I hadn't found such transcriptions in the dictionaries as just /we/ for the word ‘where’, something like a weak form of the word, so I started to doubt. Mar 28, 2019 at 13:42
  • What dictionary are you looking at? In Merriam-Webster the pronunciations listed for “where” are: \ ˈhwer , ˈwer, (ˌ)(h)wər\ - so according to this it’s either /e/ or /ə/. I guess if you want to really emphasize the /r/ (“wherrre”) it might come out like an extra syllable: /weər/. Are you saying it might be different when followed by the word “is”? I am not sure of that, but am curious what you’re thinking.
    – Mixolydian
    Mar 28, 2019 at 15:30
  • Sorry, don't have enough time for a full comment at the moment. I looked up in Macmillan and Lingvo Live online dictionaries, maybe, some other too, don't remember now. Mar 28, 2019 at 15:40
  • Oh... I should not have assumed you were learning American English- my bad! I see that in Macmillan and Collins the /r/ is optional in “where”, and the schwa is obligatory. That sounds right based on what I know about British English but since I am an American I am certainly no expert on this topic. Sorry about my misunderstanding.
    – Mixolydian
    Mar 28, 2019 at 16:19

2 Answers 2


The dictionaries give [we(ə)ʹrın] for 'wherein', so I guess it's [we(ə)ʹrız] for 'where is' (both pronunciations are possible).

  • Yes, I guess this analogy can be good. But I would also be glad to hear other opinions. Mar 28, 2019 at 13:11

Both are common and correct. The pronunciation, especially that of vowels, varies from dialect to dialect; however in contemporary RP, it's usually pronounced [wɛːɹɪz] (or [weːɹɪz]). In British English, /e/ is halfway between [e] and [ɛ], but then again, it depends on the speaker.

  • I'm not really familiar with the /ɛ/ sound. Is it the one which we find in the words 'bird', 'shirt', 'fur'? Jan 6, 2021 at 19:50
  • @ArtyomLugovoy: No. It's the vowel in 'Bed' in American English.
    – Void
    Jan 6, 2021 at 19:51
  • Aaah, I see! It's more open in AmE. Jan 6, 2021 at 19:53
  • 1
    @ArtyomLugovoy: Yes. It's this vowel. The vowel in 'bird' is /ɜ/.
    – Void
    Jan 6, 2021 at 19:54

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