How to pronounce 'gotta'? With 'R' or with 'D'?

You've gotta be kidding.

You've - gara - be kidding.

or You've - gada - be kidding.

  • Can you add a dialect tag? Questions of pronunciation usually differ between the US, the UK, Australia and other English speaking regions.
    – James K
    Aug 27, 2019 at 22:52

1 Answer 1


It's a corruption of "got to" as in "you've got to be kidding." So far as I know it's only a common expression in the USA. It's generally pronounced with the "t" sound. However, if the speaker is slurring the words together (which is the corruption), the hard "t" sometimes sounds more like the softer "d" sound. Whether the pronunciation is "t" sound or "d" sound depends on the speaker, that is, how badly the words are being run together.

The only times I've heard the expression with an "r" sound is with non-native English speakers unable to pronounce the English "t" sound.

  • 1
    Here youtube.com/watch?v=1FDjhKY8HwM is an explanation why I, native in the Croatian language, hear 'R' and because of that I pronounce 'R' but that my 'R' sounds to a native speaker like no one in his native pronunciation.
    – b2ok
    Aug 27, 2019 at 19:53
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    @b2ok - I'll watch that later today when I'm not at work. Thank you for that insight. I love learning things like this! Aug 27, 2019 at 20:18
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    In Britain English, Liverpool accents are known for softening "T" into "R". Cilla Black, famous singer and television presenter, was well known for saying "gorra" for "got a", "lorra" for "lot of" etc. express.co.uk/dayandnight/210586/…
    – jonathanjo
    Aug 27, 2019 at 23:23
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    @EdwardBarnard I'm Croatian native and I also don't unable to pronounce the English "t" - to my ears the best is "R" but what you say about the best for your ears: my "t", my "r" or my "d" in this concrete example?
    – b2ok
    Aug 29, 2019 at 18:28
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    @b2ok - that's a good question. Pronouncing a foreign language is difficult when it includes sounds not part of your native language. Arabic, for me, has sounds I can't pronounce. My suggestion is this: Say both words "got to" as accurately as you can, and the native English listener will be able to pick out the two words (got to) and understand your meaning. In other words, stay away from the contraction when it contains a sound not part of your native-language learning. This is just my own personal suggestion... hope it makes sense! Aug 29, 2019 at 18:34

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