Gonna? Wanna? Gotta? Get to grips with informal contractions!

Learn English Gonna Gotta Wanna

“It’s late, I gotta go.”

“Do you wanna get a coffee?”

“I’m gonna visit my parents next weekend.”

We all know that English has contractions. Cannot becomes can’t. I would becomes I’d. She had becomes she’d.

But what about those crazy words in those sentences above? Gotta? Wanna? Gonna? What’s that about?!?!

When we speak English in a natural way, sometimes our words join together when we speak. Over time, we begin to write these words together. For example:

got to –> gotta

want to –> wanna

going to –> gonna

We call words like these informal contractions. They’re pretty new words (or at least they’re new in dictionaries!) and we generally use them in more informal conversations.

Imagine you’re talking to your friend after your English class, you could say:

“I have got to go! I don’t want to be late for the party because if I am, my mother is going to be really angry at me.”

That’s correct, but it’s much more natural to say:

“I’ve gotta go! I don’t wanna be late for the party ’cause if I am, my mother is gonna be really angry at me.”

Try it: say the sentences both ways. Say it out loud, not just in your head! See which is easier and more natural as you speak. I bet it’s the second one!

Finally, remember that informal contractions are informal! They’re great if you’re WhatsApping with friends or having a chat at the pub. If you’re writing an essay for university or taking the IELTS, Cambridge First, Cambridge Advanced, or Cambridge Proficiency exam, always use the full two words!

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