Pronunciation: Could have = Could’ve – Could’ah

In this pronunciation episode of Aussie English I teach you guys how “Could have” is often contracted into the forms “Could’ve” and “Could’ah”.

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Pronunciation: Could have = Could’ve – Could’ah

Hey guys! Welcome to this episode of Aussie English. Today’s another pronunciation episode and this pronunciation episode is going to focus on contracting “Could have”. So, the construction “Could have” gets contracted into “Could’ve” and “Could’ah”.

So, I’ll just run you guys through the different ways you can use “Could have”. I won’t focus too much on them in this episode, but I’ll give you an idea of how it can be used, and I’ve made sure that I cover these different kinds of uses of “Could have” in the exercises.

So, number one: it’s used to talk about something someone was able to do in the past but didn’t do. For example, “I could’ve gone to the party but I didn’t feel like it.”

Number two: there’s often a sense of criticism when it’s said. So, if you didn’t do something that you “Could have” done or should’ve done then someone may use it in the form, for example, “You could’ve phoned me to let me know that you’d be late.”

Number three: to speculate about something that has happened. For example, “She could’ve taken the earlier bus.” So, you don’t know if she took it, but she would have been able to. She could have done it. It’s possible that that’s what she did in the past.

So, number four: to speculate about something that hasn’t happened. For example, “You could’ve broken your neck if you’d fallen out of the tree.” So, this’d be like if your kid had been climbing in a tree but he got down safely, the mum could be angry and say “Look, you could’ve broken your neck if you’d fallen out of the tree. It was dangerous.”

And number five: you can also use it to talk about possible present situations that haven’t yet happened. For example, “I could’ve been earning a lot of money as an accountant but I found it to be a boring job.” So, it’s something that would have been possible if you’d decided to do it in the present.

Anyway, that’s enough of that. Let’s go through the listen and repeat exercise guys where I contract “Could have” with the different pronouns. So, listen and repeat after me:

Listen and repeat:

I could have

I could’ve

I could’ah

You could have

You could’ve

You could’ah

He could have

He could’ve

He could’ah

She could have

She could’ve

She could’ah

We could have

We could’ve

We could’ah

They could have

They could’ve

They could’ah

It could have

It could’ve

It could’ah

Things could have

Things could’ve

Things could’ah

Note: The forms “Could have” and “Could’ve” are ok to be written, however, “Could’ah” is only used here as a representation of how this contracted form is pronounced.

So, practice and repeat that a few times until you get that basic idea and the basic muscle memory in your mouth of how to make these contractions. And now I’ll go through a substitution exercise where I’ll say a series of sentences twice, and in the first example sentence I’ll say “Could have” and I want you to contract it into the second sentence into “Could’ve”. So, let’s go.

Substitution exercises: Could have – Could’ve

He could have told her.

He could’ve told her.

She could have taken the earlier train.

She could’ve taken the earlier train.

She could have been earning a lot as a doctor.

She could’ve been earning a lot as a doctor.

They could have overheard everything we said.

They could’ve overheard everything we said.

He could have hurt someone driving that recklessly.

He could’ve hurt someone driving that recklessly.

They could have won the game if they had played smarter.

They could’ve won the game if they had played smarter.

I could have done that just like him if I had have wanted to.

I could’ve done that just like him if I had have wanted to.

You could have called me to let me know you would be late.

You could’ve called me to let me know you would be late.

Your friends would have come to the party if they could have.

Your friends would’ve come to the party if they could’ve.

We could have asked him when he was here but we forgot to.

We could’ve asked him when he was here but we forgot to.

He could have been the President if it weren’t for the scandal.

He could’ve been the President if it weren’t for the scandal.

You could have broken your neck, jumping off the roof like that.

You could’ve broken your neck, jumping off the roof like that.

She could have bought tickets to the show, but she didn’t feel like it.

She could’ve bought tickets to the show, but she didn’t feel like it.

They could have had breakfast this morning but they weren’t hungry.

They could’ve had breakfast this morning but they weren’t hungry.

They could have helped me make dinner instead of just sitting on the couch.

They could’ve helped me make dinner instead of just sitting on the couch.

So, listen and do these substitution exercises a few times guys. And I know a lot of these sentences are actually quite long. And so, it’s going to be quite difficult to remember the entire sentence and then say it with the contracted form perfectly without reading off the manuscript, or reading off the transcript. So, I definitely recommend doing this with the transcript if you need to, because remembering these sentences isn’t the aim here, it’s practicing these contractions.

So, that said, let’s dive into the next exercise guys where instead of “Could have” I’m going to get you to contract “Could’ve” into “Could’ah”. So, “Could’ve” into “Could’ah”, and I’ll use the same example sentences again.

Substitution exercises: Could’ve – Could’ah

He could’ve told her.

He could’ah told her.

She could’ve taken the earlier train.

She could’ah taken the earlier train.

She could’ve been earning a lot as a doctor.

She could’ah been earning a lot as a doctor.

They could’ve overheard everything we said.

They could’ah overheard everything we said.

I could’ve done well on my exam if I had studied.

I could’ah done well on my exam if I had studied.

He could’ve hurt someone driving that recklessly.

He could’ah hurt someone driving that recklessly.

They could’ve won the game if they had played smarter.

They could’ah won the game if they had played smarter.

I could’ve done that just like him if I’d’ve wanted to.

I could’ah done that just like him if I ‘d’ah wanted to.

You could’ve called me to let me know you’d be late.

You could’ah called me to let me know you’d be late.

Your friends would’ve come to the party if they could’ve.

Your friends would’ah come to the party if they could’ah.

We could’ve asked him when he was here but we forgot to.

We could’ah asked him when he was here but we forgot to.

He could’ve been the President if it weren’t for the scandal.

He could’ah been the President if it weren’t for the scandal.

You could’ve broken your neck, jumping off the roof like that.

You could’ah broken your neck, jumping off the roof like that.

She could’ve bought tickets to the show, but she didn’t feel like it.

She could’ah bought tickets to the show, but she didn’t feel like it.

They could’ve had breakfast this morning but they weren’t hungry.

They could’ah had breakfast this morning but they weren’t hungry.

They could’ve helped me make dinner instead of just sitting on the couch.

They could’ah helped me make dinner instead of just sitting on the couch.

So, I might mention here too guys that unlike “Would” being able to be contracted onto pronouns, “Could” is never contracted onto pronouns. So, that’s just something to remember, and it’s the same for “Should have”.

So, yeah, that’s really all there is to it guys. Keep practicing this exercise. Keep practicing the contractions. Don’t try and remember everything perfectly, just keep going over it until it becomes something that you do naturally. It will take time. It’s not going to happen overnight, but you will only get better at it the more you practice these things. So, keep at it. I’ve got faith in your guys. You’re going to be awesome. Keep learning English. Keep practicing your contractions and I’ll chat to you soon. All the best guys.