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Understanding and Using Modal Verbs (#4), by Dennis Oliver

 

Modal Verbs (#4):
May #3

"Relaxed" Pronunciation
of
May Have

 

In speech, contractions (especially unusual ones) are much
more common than they are in written English. Because of
this, it is often difficult to understand
may have when it is
spoken at normal speed in conversational English. Why?
-- Because
may have is often contracted to may've
(MAY-uhv) or even to *maya (MAY-uh). This explains
why you will sometimes see
*"may of" in writing by
native speakers. ( It is not appropriate to use *may in
writing, but it shows the
sound of the informal, "relaxed"
pronunciation of
may've and people often write what
they hear, not conventional forms.)

Examples:

correct written form:
may have
  sound of may have in
"relaxed" speech
     
She may have been
at the party.
 

She *may've been
at the party. /

She **maya been
at the party.

     
He may have gone home.  

He *may've gone home. /

He **maya gone home.

     
They may have had
a disagreement.
 

They *may've had
a disagreement. /

They **maya had
a disagreement.

     
I may have met him.
I'm not sure.
 

I *may've met him.
I'm not sure. /

I **maya met him,
I'm not sure.

     
I may have made a mistake.  

I *may've made a mistake. /

I **maya made a mistake.


__________________________________________________


Special Notes:

1.

 *

may've

This contraction is very common in spoken
American English, but it is not common in
written English.

The contraction for have, 've, sounds like "of,"
but it
doesn't mean "of."

     
2.

**

maya

This form is very common in spoken American
English, but it is
not appropriate for use in
most written English.


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