The weak form of to is /tə/ and attend starts with /ə/.

According to the rule of linking vowel to vowel, we have to add "w" glide consonant to link two words preceding one ending with a back vowel and following one starting with any vowel.

So, do natives pronounce "to attend" as /tə wəˈtɛnd/? I feel weird when i have to follow these rules on linking vowel to vowel.

  • Good question. Yes, I do this, as a BrE speaker. You don't have to religiously follow this, but when speaking faster, it seems to happen naturally. Aug 4, 2019 at 21:19

2 Answers 2


I'm an AmE speaker, and I don't use the weak form of to before a word starting with a vowel. For me, /tə.wəˈtɛnd/ and /tə.əˈtɛnd/ both sound wrong (although that doesn't mean that other native English speakers don't use them).

I would say /tu.wəˈtɛnd/. I treat the word to (when it's unstressed) just like the and a/an, which are also pronounced differently before words starting with a vowel.


The ə symbol just means 'some' vowel sound. They surely can be different vowels if they belong to two different words. What would sound very strange is to hear the very same vowel used in both words.

As an AmE speaker I can't recall taking the time to insert anything between the words. The difference in the sounds 'oo' as in too and 'at' in attend make enough of a contrast to prevent the two from running together as one.


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge that you have read and understand our privacy policy and code of conduct.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.