I read somewhere (I don't remember the source and I'm not sure if it's true) that Americans tend to replace the "ng" sound with only "n" in casual/fast speech.

For example: Who's calling? sounds like [huz ˈkɔ lɪn] instead of [huz ˈkɔ lɪŋ]. The difference is between the two sounds: n and ŋ

Is it true?

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    That's not limited to AmE, it's found all over the Anglosphere. It is, however, mostly limited to the ending -ing (in its various uses). Ringing, for example, would never be [rinin] (please excuse the bad IPA—typing on phone). Apr 10, 2015 at 12:02
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    Yes, even Lord Peter Wimsey in his best Mayfair upper-class-twit accent would say ['rɪŋɪn]. And it's very common in America as well; certainly it's the first thing to go when speech speeds up. Apr 10, 2015 at 14:00
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    @JanusBahsJacquet Moreover, the ending ing becomes in only if the ending is added to a word. In a word that ends in ing in its base form, such as sing, the [ng] would not be pronounced [n]. So in short, it's only in a specific type of situation that [ng] is replaced with [n.]
    – Nicole
    Apr 10, 2015 at 14:12
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    @Nicole -ing is not an ending in sing; it's part of the root. The definition of an ending is something that is attached to a stem. Apr 10, 2015 at 14:14
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    That's what I'm saying. I thought it was best to clarify for OP that not all words that end in ing can have the [ng] replaced with [n].
    – Nicole
    Apr 10, 2015 at 14:43

2 Answers 2


Yes. And that's done even in writing; you can find:

Sweet Dreams at the Goodnight Motel - Page 207 Curtiss Ann Matlock - 2009 -

“Not if you were callin' Claire Wilder.”

That was a surprise. “Yes, I was. Who's this?”

“Who's callin'?” The guy, whoever he was, was a wise-ass.

“This is Andrew Wilder, callin' my wife.”


As mentioned in the comments, the "replacement" of [ŋ] with [n] is mostly restricted to word-final unstressed -ing.

As far as I know, it's not really clear why this happens. (I wrote a more detailed post to this effect as an answer to the question Why does “-ing” go to “-in” in some dialects?)

Almost all of the words where this sound change occurs end in the common suffix -ing, but it can also affect some words that don't end in this suffix, such as something and nothing.

Incidentally, the vowel in -ing/-in' is not necessarily realized as [ɪ].

  • For speakers with the weak vowel merger (including me), unstressed /ɪn/ may not be clearly distinguished in perception from unstressed /ən/.

  • Some American English speakers use /iŋ/ in place of /ɪŋ/ (in all contexts), and at least some of these speakers consequently have /in/ (with a different vowel from /ɪn/) as a variant pronunciation of the -ing suffix.

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