Pronouncing Pronouns Correctly
The pronoun YOU is often pronounced with a reduced schwa vowel sound /ə/.
Native speakers say YOU with a reduced sound all the time in casual speech.
- When cən yə MEEt?
Don’t over pronounce YOU
Be careful not to over pronounce the word YOU. This may feel like an accusation to your listeners.
Besides, over pronouncing YOU throws off the rhythm of your speech.
Examples of too much YOU
- Are YOU ready?
- How do YOU know?
Syllable stress in reflexive pronouns
Stress reflexive pronouns on the second syllable.
Sentences for practice
- Can yə DO it yourSELF?
- I’ll DO it mySELF.
- They preFER to drive themSELVEZ.
- He sees FIFty patients a DAY by himSELF.
- She deSIGNed the marketing camPAIGn by herSELF.
Why are these rules for stress and schwa in pronouns so important?
When you speak American English using the correct stress patterns, your speech will sound more clear to native speakers.
When you reduce the sounds of some words, and stress syllables correctly, your speak will sound both clear and familiar.
Listen to native speakers
When you listen to native speakers, listen for the rules about pronouncing pronouns that you learned here.
You’ll hear native speakers use them.
Try to use these rules and patterns in your own speech.
Or get some training so you can practice these American English rules and patterns.
About the author
Susan Ryan is an accent reduction coach. Contact her with your questions about clear American speech.