When Is And Not And?
One of the most used words in English is and.
And is a conjunction, that is, a joining word.
Conjunctions are a closed class of words.
We cannot add new conjunctions to the language, as we can with nouns and verbs.
Closed class words are function words.
Function words are normally in the weak positions in English sentences.
The word and has only one syllable.
If this syllable is in the weak position of a sentence, it will not be pronounced as the strong form and.
“And?” I hear you ask.
Well, take the fixed expression salt and pepper.
We don’t say salt and pepper; we say salt and pepper.
The same with other binomial pairs.
- Black and white.
- Far and wide.
- Knife and fork.
- Neat and tidy.
- Odds and ends.
- Rich and poor.
- Sick and tired.
- Skin and bone.
You can clearly hear that the and, being in the weak position, is pronounced weakly.
Most teachers, by and large, know about this, and I hope I’m not seen as high and mighty in suggesting that some do not.
I’m happy to live and let live, and I’m not about to rant and rave about it.
But teaching is my bread and butter, and the nuts and bolts of English teaching include a good understanding of pronunciation.
So, ladies and gentlemen, I hope you’ve learned something interesting and useful from this short and sweet video.
Is your English teacher making you make this pronunciation mistake?