The common suffix -ing2
can be pronounced in modern English as either [‐ing] /‐ɪŋ/ (Show IPA)
or [‐in] /‐ɪn/
with either the velar nasal consonant [ng] /ŋ/
symbolized in IPA as [ŋ], or the alveolar nasal consonant [n] /n/
symbolized in IPA as [n]. The [‐in] /‐ɪn/
pronunciation therefore reflects the use of one nasal as against another and not, as is popularly supposed, “dropping the g,
” since no actual g
-sound is involved.
Many speakers use both pronunciations, depending on the speed of utterance and the relative formality of the occasion, with [‐ing] /‐ɪŋ/
considered the more formal variant. For some educated speakers, especially in the southern United States and Britain, [‐in] /‐ɪn/
is in fact the more common pronunciation, while for other educated speakers, [‐ing] /‐ɪŋ/
is common in virtually all circumstances. In response to correction from perceived authorities, many American speakers who would ordinarily use [‐in] /‐ɪn/
at least some of the time make a conscious effort to say [‐ing] /‐ɪŋ/
even in informal circumstances.