The Schwa Sound: Supplement on Small Word Use

Let’s look at these sentences again to analyze the articles and prepositions.

Rule 1 for using “a”–Use “a” before a noun that is mentioned for the first time. Also, use “a” if you could substitute the word “one.”
Memorize verb phrases: attend to, looking for, thanks for
Notice when “to” is joining two verbs; the first verb shows the tense and the second verb is in base form. 
Use “in” to generalize about a field of study or work (as if inside a big group)

Consumer Trends

1. We have developed a list of consumer trends that can affect our company.
2. Today, we will summarize our findings.
3. A popular buzzword right now is “appeal.”
4. Consumers among each age group need products that attend to
 their needs.
5. Young people need to see humor and attractiveness.
6. Middle-aged people are looking for both convenience and material value.
7. Retired people tend to prefer unpretentious products.
8. All age groups appreciate encouragement and recognition.
9. We will be front runners in business if we can balance appeal and function.
10. Thanks for your efforts and hard work.*

Answer the questions. Example answers are below.

Since we usually develop or create something new, these are great verbs for practicing “a.” Remember that if you continue speaking, you will need to use “a” on the first mention and “the” afterward. 

1. What is something new that you or your team have developed?
2. Have you ever created a new system or method for maximizing your time or achieving a goal?

Let’s practice “a” as in “one.”

3. What is a modern trend that you appreciate?
4. What is a color that few people wear?

Let’s practice the phrases above.

5. What is a task or who is a person that you attend to
6. When you shop online, do you decide exactly what you are looking for before browsing or not?
7. What do you often thank someone for?

Join two verbs using “to.” We usually pronounce the o in “to” with a schwa sound.

8. What is something you need to finish today or this week?
9. What kind of movies, shows or books do you tend to like? Why?

Finally, use “in” to generalize about a field of study or work.

10. Do you excel in business or not?

11. What was your major (specialization) at the university level?


12. Have you ever worked on a project in which you figured out what people were looking for and you needed to finish it to meet a deadline

Examples of answers. Please use these to study sentence constructions.

1. We have developed a new marketing strategy. We think the strategy is very effective.
2. Yes, I create a new system every few months.
3. A modern trend that I appreciate is positive and encouraging messages.
4. A color that few people wear is orange.
5. I attend to some routine work tasks every morning.
6. I try to figure out what I am looking for, but sometimes I have to browse to find out what’s available.
7. I usually thank my husband for his help.
8. I need to finish some new curriculum.
9. I tend to like movies that are funny and nonviolent.
10. I do not excel in business, but I do passably well. 
11. I majored in English.
12. When I was a university student, I worked on a project in which we found out what people were looking for in new magazines, and yes, I needed to finish this project before the end of the semester.
750 Business WordsSchwa Sound Main Page
* is a part of I.E. Tutoring, Seattle, WA, which holds the copyright to all materials. Subscribers may print images and pages for individual use, but not for commercial use or distribution. *

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s