Time is money in America. So when Americans say words with three or more syllables, it’s sometimes easier to delete a weak syllable (like a schwa vowel /ə/) in order to say it faster and more efficiently. It’s as if a syllable disappears. This helps the word sound more fluent and smooth when used in a sentence.
Syllable deletion occurs in words that contain three or more syllables and occurs when we are talking faster in connected speech. Not all long words have reduced syllables, but when you know the words that do have them, it will help you sound less foreign and more like a native.
Some common English words that have disappearing syllables are listed below. Listen to the audio and practice pronouncing these words daily without the syllable in parentheses ( ). Get familiar with the phonetic (IPA) spellings below to help you unlock the code to English pronunciation.