Wanna, Gonna, Gotta and More

Have you ever heard someone say the words ‘wanna‘, ‘gonna‘ or ‘dunno‘? These are informal contractions or abbreviations that shorten the full words, which have formed in the English language over time during faster conversation.

When you watch movies and listen to music, especially from the United States, you will often hear contractions like these. Here are some common examples:

Gonna Going to
I’m gonna eat.
What you gonna do?
Where you gonna go?
I’m going to eat.
What are you going to do?
Where are you going to go?
Gotta Have got to
I gotta go.
You gotta help me.
They gotta stop.
I’ve got to go. / I have to go.
You’ve got to help me. / You have to help me.
They’ve got to stop. / They have to stop.
Wanna Want to
You wanna go?
What you wanna do?
I don’t wanna stay here.
Do you want to go?
What do you want to do?
I don’t want to stay here.

Other informal contractions:

Coz = Because
Dunno = Don’t know   (e.g. “I dunno where he is.”)
Lemme = Let me    (e.g. “Lemme know when you need to leave.”)
Gimme = Give me   (e.g. “Gimme a call when you can.”)
Kinda = Kind of   (e.g. “It’s kinda cold in the air conditioning.”)
Outta = Out of   (e.g. “You’re in danger, you gotta get outta here!”)

Should you use them when learning English?

Americans and other native English speakers use these words in spoken English to allow the words to flow more easily, however this is not prescribed English grammar, therefore not technically correct.

If you are learning English to fit in with natives, particularly from the US, then feel free to use them in spoken conversation, but do not use them in writing, particularly in academic writing.