Word Reduction Activity

Rachel A. Manley, Kanda University of International Studies

Quick Guide

  • Keywords: Word Reduction, slang 
  • Learner English Level: Intermediate 
  • Learner Maturity: High school to Adult
  • Preparation Time: 15 minutes
  • Activity Time: Approx. 60 minutes
  • Materials: List of common reduced words, pattern worksheet, reduction practice worksheet, reduction listening activity, homework data collection worksheet, reductions quiz A and B, movie data collection, and in class video clip data collection worksheet. Copies of the worksheets can be found in the appendices.

Casual conversations in English often include the reduction of words. Common ones such as gonna and wanna are consistently heard throughout conversations. There are some patterns and clues to determine how a word will be reduced, if at all. Using the materials, found in the Appendices, I have found that my students quickly learned how to reduce words and had fun doing so. The activities provided in the Appendices can help explicitly demonstrate to the students how to use reduced words in conversations. Finding English language conversations in EFL settings can be difficult. Therefore, it can be useful for students to learn about reduced words for those intending to travel overseas. Those who want to learn about words used in American casual conversations can also benefit from this activity. 


Step 1: Print out the worksheets found in the appendices. 

Step 2: Find a video clip or sound clip in which reduced forms are used. Usually YouTube video clips of movies or shows will have what you are looking for.


Step 1: Start the class with a warm-up question: “What are reduced words?” Students brainstorm what they think they are.

Step 2: Pass out a handout of “list of common reduced forms” (Appendix A). Go over the different types of reduced forms with students.

Step 3: Pass out “pattern worksheet” (Appendix B) and have students, answer the questions on what patterns they notice with the help of Appendix A. Go over Appendix B with the class. You can also take this time and have students practice saying the reduced words. 

Step 4: Next, hand out the “Reduction Practice Worksheet” (Appendix C). Students are given a chance to write either the reduced or long form of the words. Go over the answers with the class. Students can also practice saying these sentences. 

Step 5: Since students now know about the reduced forms of words, they can practice them through a listening activity. Handout the “Reduction Listening Activity” data collection worksheet (Appendix D). Using the video or sound clip from the movie or show found online, have students listen and write down the context of the material and the reduced words they hear. Appendix E is an extended version of Appendix D, which can be used as homework. 

Step 6: Once students understand everything and there are no additional questions, you can give students a quiz (or use it as further practice). There are two versions of the quiz and the answer keys are provided as well (Appendices F, and G).


Before Step 6 I gave students another listening activity worksheet, similar to the ones in Step 5 but instead, watched a movie or show in class and filled out the data collection worksheet (Appendix H).


In an EFL setting it can be difficult for students to come across English conversations, or hear reduced forms of words used properly. The activities I created worked well in my class, allowing students to see explicitly what reduced words are and how they work. By using patterns, students can find it a useful way to remember reductions, thus realizing they do not need to necessarily memorize everything. Students in my class had fun practicing the pronunciation of reduced words and enjoyed watching films and video clips in class. 


The appendix is available below.