Curious Question #6 – Want vs. Won’t

The question this time is a pronunciation question. How can we hear the difference between “want” and “won’t”. It is true that they are very similar, but there are some differences and here we explain them for you.


Here are some photos that help distinguish between the pronunciation of won’t and want. Won’t Want.







The best advice given in this episode was about syllables. Here is what we meant, in case it was unclear. Won’t has one syllable, or beat, and want has two syllables.





Won’t Want to 1 1 2 Another thing is the to. Won’t is never followed by a to, but want is often followed by a to. So if you listen for the to then you will be able to tell them apart.

Sample transcript

Robin: So just to be clear, the first example was won’t, that is will not as a contraction, W-O-N-’-T. The second example was the verb want and want is often followed by the preposition to. They sound the same because they almost look the same. They both are W and then a vowel and then a N and a T.
Maura: I wonder if you can hear the difference in this episode? I hope so. If you’re having any trouble hearing the difference and want to understand this pronunciation episode, go to our website and see the transcripts in Lipservice.
Robin: So with won’t we have an O and the second example with want we have an A. This is a big distinction to make because if you listen closely these vowel sounds are pronounced differently and can help you distinguish between them.
Maura: In won’t we hear wo. The mouth looks like an O, the lips move out and back in a little, but they don’t lose the O shape.
Robin: In want we hear a short A sound: ah.


english PodcastAudio/Learning Materials: Culips