15 English Words with a syllable deleted, omitted - YES it's gone!

Why is ‘restaurant’ pronounced as ‘restront’?

Words like ‘restaurant’ look very different to how they are pronounced! This can be frustrating for learners!

In this post we’ll cover the most important words where native English speakers drop a syllable. 

Good news! You’ll practice and correct these with the audio lessons and voice recorder below 😊.

Why are some words in English pronounced with one syllable dropped out? Every multi-syllable English word has one stressed syllable. The other syllables are weaker than the stressed syllable. Some vowels in the unstressed syllable become the weak vowel schwa. Native speakers sometimes leave out weak syllables of words. 

Do I need to leave out a syllable of English words? Is it important? No, not really. Not omitting syllables like a native speaker is not going to make your English unclear. So not, it’s not a high priority. If your English is sometimes unclear to listeners, then skip this page and focus on improving areas that affect your clarity, such as word stress and vowel sounds.

The process of leaving out or dropping a syllable in multi-syllable words is called elision. But you don’t need to remember that! 

If you are confident that your English is already clear and you want to sound more like a native speaker then proceed. This page is for you!

Check you understand these points below, before we practice the words:

– English words can be broken up into syllables. 
– each vowel sound makes a syllable or a beat eg car-pet (2 syllables), com-pu-ter (3 syllables), a-lli-ga-tor (4 syllables)
– every multi-syllable English word has ONE stressed syllable. If this is new to you, revise Word Stress
– unstressed syllables sometimes become the weak vowel schwa, revise English schwa sound
– over time, these weak syllables have been omitted by many English speakers.  

So, you’ve noticed that in some long English words, native English speakers often leave out, omit or drop a syllable. 

This is because that syllable is so weak, it’s easier to say it without that syllable. Over time, this has become the norm and it’s what most people do! You’ll still hear some people not drop the syllable and that’s fine, it’s still clear to listeners. That’s why, this is not something that is really important for people to do!

This process of omitting weak syllables happens in a lot of languages. It’s just when something that wasn’t important in the first place gradually disappears.

English Words With Omitted Syllable – Listen, Practice & Record 

Here’s a list of the most common words where a schwa syllable is often completely left out by native speakers. 

Why are these words difficult for non-native speakers? English words can look very different to how they are pronounced. 

Let’s look at the word ‘comfortable’. Many non native speakers put the stress on the middle syllable in this word. They stress ‘for’. This is incorrect. The stress should be on the first syllable and the middle syllable drops out. 

So first on the list, as you go through these words is to make sure you are making good syllable stress. This means you are putting the stress and emphasis on the correct syllable. 

Word List 1 – Important Words With Omitted Syllable. 

The first group of words actually sound quite different to a native speaker if you pronounce them with all the syllables. These are a higher priority to change than the other words on the list. 

 

How To Pronounce ‘business’?  ‘Business’ is pronounced with 2 syllables only. 

How To Pronounce ‘comfortable’?  ‘comfortable’ is usually pronounced with 3 syllables only. 

How To Pronounce ‘restaurant’?  ‘Restaurant’ is usually pronounced with 3 syllables only.

In each you’ll practice the sentence – “He was comfortable talking business in the restaurant”. 

Practising in a sentence is SO important. It’s not enough to repeat a word a few times by itself and hope that you will then use it correctly in your everyday speaking. It’s relatively easy to repeat 1 word by itself. Being able to pronounce a word in a new way in sentence is much more challenging.

Our full English pronunciation courses give you the practice you need to successfully transfer your new speech skills into your everyday conversation. We guide you through this process. See more on our full, tailored English Pronunciation Courses. 

Listen to the audio below and practice your pronunciation of these words. Then recording them with the voice recorder. 

business /ˈbɪz.nəs/

Pronounced as BIZ.nuhs
– 2 syllables only
– first syllable stressed

comfortable /ˈkʌmf.tə.bəl/

Pronounced as KUMF.tuh.bl
– 3 syllables only
– first syllable stressed

restaurant /ˈres.trɒnt/

Pronounced as REST.ront
– 2 syllables only
– first syllable stresse

How To Pronounce ‘Wednesday’?  ‘Wednesday’ is pronounced with 2 syllables only. 

How To Pronounce ‘favourite’?  ‘favourite’ is usually pronounced with 2 syllables only. 

How To Pronounce ‘chocolate’?  ‘chocolate’ is pronounced with 2 syllables only.

And practice these words in the sentence – “She had her favourite chocolate on Wednesday”. 

Listen to the audio below and practice your pronunciation of these words and the sentence.

Then recording them with the voice recorder using excellent word stress 

Wednesday /ˈwenz.deɪ/

Pronounced as WHENS.day
– 2 syllables only
– first syllable stressed

favourite /ˈfeɪv.rət/

Pronounced as FAYV.ruht
– 2 syllables only
– first syllable stressed

chocolate /ˈtʃɒk.lət/

Pronounced as CHOK.luht 
– 2 syllables only
– first syllable stressed

Word List 2 – More Words With A Deleted Syllable. 

Below we have more practice examples of English words where we drop out, leave out or omit a part.

Listen to each, repeat with good word stress and then practice it in the sentence. 

Omitted syllable in the words: different, several, every.
Then practice these in the sentence: There are several different types in every shop.

Omitted syllable in the words: interesting, wonderfully, camera. 
Then practice these in the sentence: It’s a wonderfully interesting camera. 

Omitted syllable in the words: temperature, naturally, actually.
Then practice these in the sentence: Actually, it’s a naturally occurring temperature. 

Listen to the audio below and practice your pronunciation of these words. Then recording them with the voice recorder. 

different

several

every

interesting

wonderfully

camera 

temperature

naturally

actually

And a few more to think about. 

 

‘company’ is often pronounced as ‘COMP.nee’

‘family’ is often pronounced as ‘FAM.lee’

‘seperate’ is often pronounced as ‘SEP.ruht’ when it’s an adjective. When it’s a verb (to separate something) we pronounce all syllables. 

‘library’ is often pronounced as ‘LIE.bree’

 

Don’t Drop A Syllable

There are some words where some native speakers drop a syllable and it maybe isn’t a great habit to do so. 

You will also hear lots of people leave out a syllable in the words below. I wouldn’t recommend you do this. It’s not seen as good English and could make your English sound too casual.

So the words below are words that you might hear other people drop syllables in but you should aim to pronounce all parts of the word.

probably – sometimes pronounced as ‘problee’ but I recommend you pronounce it with 3 syllables.
properly – sometimes pronounced as ‘proplee’ but I recommend you pronounce it with 3 syllables.

Join our free Starter English Pronunciation Course.

English Pronunciation Training For Advanced Learners.

To master the stress and rhythm of English and develop clear English that is easy for people to understand, check out our English Pronunciation Courses. 

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English Words With A Syllable Deleted

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Georgie Harding has assisted thousands of people from all over the world with improving their clarity and spoken English skills. A Speech Pathology degree (BAppSc(SpPathand CELTA qualifications and over 15 years of experience providing 1:1, group and online training make Georgie a leader in her field.  

Georgie is the creator the world’s leading English Pronunciation online courses that are tailored to the language background of the student and presents regularly at Universities.

If you’ve ever met Georgie or completed her award winning courses you’ll know how passionate she is about helping people move forward with better spoken English and more confidence. 

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