Wikipedia explains weak forms as:

Some monosyllabic English function words have a weak form with a reduced vowel, used when the word has no prosodic stress, and a phonemically distinct strong form with a full vowel, used when the word is stressed (and as the citation form or isolation form when a word is mentioned standing alone). In the case of many such words the strong form is also used when the word comes at the end of a sentence or phrase.

An example of such a word is the modal verb can. When appearing unstressed within a sentence and governing a verb (as in I can do it), the weak form /kən/ is used. However the strong form /kæn/ is used:

  • when the word is stressed: I don't have to do it, but I can do it
  • when the word is phrase-final, i.e. without a governed verb: we won't be doing it, but they can if they want
  • when the word is referred to in isolation: The verb "can" is one of the English modals.

I want to know if one can use weak forms while reading news to the viewers?


1 Answer 1


Yes, in connected speech, weak forms are unstressed and get reduced to a schwa.

There are plenty of examples of BBC news on the internet. In any example you care to choose the speaker will be speaking in connected speech, with reduced weak forms.

That is part of natural formal speech. To pronounce each syllable as if it was a strong form would be unnatural and almost unbearable.


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