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Disappearing sounds in English | What is syllable deletion and how it makes your life easier

Make your life easier with this pronunciation hack!

In many words in English that consist of more than two syllables, often, one syllable can be dropped completely and not be pronounced. 

For example, the word natural can be pronounced nach-r’l.

Where does it happen?

This happens to the weakest syllable (a schwa sound) in words with two or more syllables.

We find this deletion mainly in 3-syllable words like ‘camera’, ‘average’, and ‘chocolate’, where the schwa sound is in the middle.

But, it can also be found in longer words, such as in ‘vegetable’ and ‘interesting’, or in shorter words like ‘suppose’ and ‘police’. However it happens mostly in 3-syllable words, and this is why it is also called trisyllabic deletion.

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Why does it happen?
There are several reasons for syllable deletion. Words that are used more frequently are more likely to lose weak syllables than words that are less frequent. It can also be a matter of whether it’s in formal speech or not, as well as how fast one speaks. Usually, in casual speech, speakers speak a bit faster and tend to pronounce words less carefully. In most cases that’s okay because the meaning is still clear and the word can be recognized by the listener.

Do I have to use it?
While this definitely makes things easier to pronounce, there’s no right or wrong way to use it. It is absolutely OK to pronounce words with a deleted syllable, or keep the original syllable. Choose what feels more comfortable for you! 

Watch the video below to learn more about syllable deletion and download your FREE PDF to practice even more words with syllable deletion in English!


Welcome to the InFluency Podcast. I’m Hadar, and this is episode number 291. And as I’m saying this, I am realizing that we’re getting closer to episode 300. Crazy! Today we’re gonna talk about syllable deletion, and in other words, how to make some words easier to pronounce.

All right, so today – hi everyone, thank you so much for being here again – today I have a cool tip or trick for you. And you know I’m all about simplifying pronunciation and finding all those places where you can change something in how you pronounce certain words so that it’s easy and simple and fun to pronounce. And today’s episode is about that, it’s about a trick. It’s about a syllable – a syllable is a unit inside the word that you can drop in certain words.

But it’s not just going to help you pronounce things in an easier way. It’s also going to make sense to you why sometimes you hear a word pronounced this way or it’s spelled a certain way and then you hear it differently. So I hope this episode is going to bridge that gap. And also I have a practice sheet for you if you’d like to move on and practice it even further and to have like a list of those types of words where you can shorten and reduce and change the pronunciation so it’s easier.

I’m all about learning, but then putting it into practice, so I really do my best in providing you with the resources that you need to put into practice what you learn with me. You can download it for free. I’m gonna post the link in the description below. But even just listening to the episode will do the work. All right, so let’s go ahead and listen to today’s episode.

Hey everyone, it’s Hadar. Today I have a short and sweet episode for you on how to simplify the pronunciation of words. And more specifically, I’m going to teach you about syllable deletion where you can just eliminate an entire syllable in a word.

But before that, if you are new to my channel, then welcome. My name is Hadar, I’m a non-native speaker of English. And I am here to help you speak with clarity, with confidence, and with freedom. I have a ton of resources for you to download for free on my website, so check it out at You can also follow me on social media for valuable daily content.

All right, so here’s the thing. Sometimes, especially in words with three or more syllables, where there is a syllable – a syllable is the smallest unit in a word. With a schwa – a schwa is a reduced vowel, that means that that syllable is a weak stress. And I’m going to link to all the videos that talk about that, it’s super interesting. And if you don’t know what a schwa is, make sure you watch those videos.

So when you have a syllable with a schwa, it could possibly be deleted. The more popular the word is, the more likely for that syllable to be deleted. Now, it’s not a must, it doesn’t happen with every syllable that has a schwa in longer words, but there is a pattern that I’d like to teach you today.

When you have a word with three syllables, and the middle syllable is a schwa – a neutral sound, the ‘uh’ sound – it is very common for that syllable to be eliminated. And then the two other syllables comprise the word. For example, we have the word ‘camera’. ‘camera’ has three syllables, technically. The first syllable is the primary stress – ‘kam’. Then we have a schwa, and then we have another schwa – ‘ruh’. ‘kam-uh-ruh’. However, the middle syllable is often deleted. And then we reduce it to just ‘kam-ruh’.

Another example. The word ‘favorite’. ‘fei-vuh-r’t’. The primary stress is on the first syllable – ‘fei’. Then we have a schwa – ‘vuh-r’t’, 2 schwas. But in this case as well, the middle syllable – eliminated: ‘feiv-r’t’. Again, not a must, you can totally say ‘fei-vuh-r’t’ and it’s going to be legit. But if you listen to people say it, you’ll notice that people usually pronounce it in two syllables rather than three – ‘feiv-r’t’.

Another example: chocolate – ‘chaa-kuh-l’t’. In this case, eliminate the middle syllable – the schwa, and then you get ‘chaak-l’t’. Another example: restaurant – ‘res-tuh-raant’. ‘res’ – the primary stress, ‘tuh’ – a schwa, a weak stress, and then ‘raant’ – a secondary stress, we have a pure vowel here. ‘res-tuh-raant’. The middle syllable can be eliminated. ‘res-traant’.

Let’s look at a few more examples and practice them together. ‘nach-r’l’ instead of ‘na-chuh-ral’. ‘ev-ree’ instead of ‘e-veh-ree’. ‘dif-r’nt’, instead of ‘di-fuh-r’nt’. ‘fam-lee’ Instead of ‘fa-muh-lee’. ‘des-pr’t’ instead of ‘des-puh-r’t’. ‘aap-ruh’ instead of ‘aa-puh-ruh’. ‘kath-lik’ Instead of ‘ka-thuh-lik’.

Reducing three syllables into two makes it easier to pronounce the word for most people. And this is why I highly recommend for you to actually put it into practice and to practice pronouncing these words with two syllables. Now, again, it is totally fine to pronounce the middle syllable – the schwa. But since sometimes the schwa is mispronounced by speakers of English as a second language, then it might just jeopardize the clarity of the word, and this is why eliminate that middle syllable. I have prepared for you a PDF with these words and a few sentences for you to practice, so you can download it for free by clicking the link below.

I hope this was helpful. Thank you so much for being here and practicing here with me. For more resources, check out my website at And of course, consider subscribing to my channel. Have a beautiful, beautiful rest of the day. And I’ll see you next week in the next video.

The InFluency Podcast
The InFluency Podcast
291. Disappearing sounds in English | Make pronunciation easier with this hack

What other words in English do you know where the schwa sound can be dropped completely?

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