Quick examples include: you'll, I've, and we'd. Contractions really take the significance of apostrophes to a new level. They are shortened forms of words. Contractions also, in most cases, involve verb forms. In a contraction, an apostrophe takes the place of the missing letters.
Contractions account for the widest variety of misspellings in the English Language. Even Docotorates of Education and Medical Doctors have been caught in Interneational publications with using "you're", instead of "your". There was a similar case in 1989 that was in one of the largest medical publications worldwide that must have been reviewed by over 100 people, but never caught until after being published.
Change the Words Into A
These are great for students that are new to the skill. Change the words in ( ) into a contraction. Students make their own contraction. Using full sentences actually makes it a bit easier for them.
We ask students to create their own. Write the contraction for each group of words. We add a mix of skills for you to master. The underlying skill is wrking with contractions, but we tie in grammar skills with this one.
This helps students work towards mastering this tricky skill. Students condense words and contract them. Did you know many scholarly publications ask authors to avoid contractions at all costs? Some don't accept their use at all.
Take two words and make them into one. Sound easy, right? We work two contractions into one sentence on this one. We're just going contraction crazy; aren't we? Pun intended!
Two Contractions and a
We ask you to condense the phrases. Place your apostrophe and then tell us what two words were used to make it happen.
Insert the Apostrophe
We thought this one was easy, but some children rush through the placement. In every sentence an apostrophe is missing from the contractions. They just got up and ran off the page! Fill them up with 's.
Correct the Contractions
Students turn to play the role of teacher. Students love this one because it's their turn to play teacher and make corrections. We get very few complaints by students.
Why Do We Use Contractions in Writing?
"I'm gonna grab a bite. D'you wanna join?"
As informal as it sounds, isn't it more relatable?
Our everyday speech is filled with different types of contractions because people like speed today. Nobody has time for listening to a 10-words-long sentence when the same message can be communicated in less than ten words. Plus, it sounds friendlier.
Even though our everyday communication is filled with these crazy things, it is still taboo to use this in some forms of writing. But is that always the case?
What Are Contractions?
A combination of two words formed by omitting certain letters resulting in a shorter word is called a contraction. They can mostly be found in informal writing rather than formal texts. They're also a significant part of colloquial speech. Therefore, you'll often be instructed to avoid using contractions in your more formal forms of writing.
To form a contraction, certain letters are mostly replaced with an apostrophe. These omitted letters usually won't affect the 'sound' of the word once omitted.
Let's look at the following sentences and try to use contractions.
- Mary should have talked to you before complaining to the dean.
Using contractions: Mary should've talked to you before complaining to the dean.
- It is not raining.
Using contractions: It isn't raining. OR It's not raining.
- You thought they were not going shopping? Well, they are.
Using contractions: You thought they weren’t going shopping? Well, they are.
Notice how the 'they were' was contracted, but the second wasn't. That's because the they might not fit a sentence or create confusion in speaking at certain times. "They're" sounds like "their" and "there." And the last part of the sentence doesn't provide any context, creating confusion in the meaning. Hence, we don't always use them in writing.
Contractions might seem a vast concept in English. Before diving into the uses of them, let's first discuss some common types of them in English.
A negative contraction is formed by joining a verb with not. For example, the verb 'could' joined with 'not' will form 'could not,' but its contracted form would be "couldn't." Other examples could be haven't, aren't, etc.
Subject With a Verb
A subject can be combined with an auxiliary verb to form a contraction. For example, the subject 'you' joined with the auxiliary verb 'have' will form the contraction "you've." Other examples could be you're, they'll, Mason's, etc.
Interrogative Adverb With a Verb
Interrogative adverbs (what, where, why, etc.) can also be combined with an auxiliary verb in a contracted form. For example, the interrogative adverb 'who' combined with the auxiliary verb 'will' will form the contraction "who'll." Other examples could be what's, where'd, how're, etc.
Informal forms are primarily used in spoken English due to how they sound. These contractions might be seen in some informal texts as well. For example, if you say 'want to' at speed, it might sound like 'wanna,' which is a contraction.
Look at this sentence: Leah's announced her engagement.
How'd you write "Leah's" in an uncontracted form?
At first glance, or if written without a context, you'd probably think "Leah's" means "Leah is." However, with the given context of announcing an engagement, we can tell that Leah is performing an action. Hence, "Leah has" is the correct depiction of "Leah's."
Such contractions where context is essential to determine which form has been used are called ambiguous cases. We also see ambiguity in the case of using "'d" because it stands for both 'would' and 'had.'
Contractions in English List
Here's a list of words with some common contractions examples in written and spoken English.
|'s||Is/has||Where's, She's, Jane's, It's|
|'re||Are||They're, We're, You're|
|'ve||Have||They've, I've, Could've, Might've|
|'d||Had/would||She'd, They'd, I'd, Who'd|
|'ll||Will||I'll, He'll, You'll, That'll|
|n't||Not||Isn't, Didn't, Won't, Mustn't|
Some other common contractions in English formed due to the omission of certain letters are as follows:
|O'clock||Of the clock|
Using Them in a Sentence
It is a general claim that contractions should be strictly prohibited in writing. However, this isn't always true. Some publications such as MLA allow their writers to use contractions to make the text more friendly and readable. So, when can you use them in writing?
You Can Use Them in a Sentence When...
1. Writing a dialogue: Contractions are mainly used to portray colloquialism in writing. Hence, if you want your dialogues to sound closer to reality, you should use them. It adds more reality to your writing, making it more relatable.
2. Going for a friendly approach: If you're writing a lifestyle blog, your audience must trust you to follow your tips and tricks. Using them can build that trust because your writing won't sound formal or uptight.
3. Marketing a product: Again, that friendliness and relatability created by contractions come in handy in marketing. Speaking your customer's language is what's going to make your message more meaningful and heard.
You Cannot Use Them in a Sentence When...
1. Writing a research paper: Research papers are part of formal writing and are read worldwide. Using them in such formal writing will give it an amateur look and risk your credibility. Certain parts of the world might not use the contractions that natives do. Therefore, using them is strictly prohibited in research papers.
2. Writing a historical piece: Contractions were not part of spoken English a few decades ago. Therefore, avoid using them in dialogues when writing a historical piece or character.
3. Creating an emphasis: Imagine warning someone by saying, "Don't Enter." Doesn't sound so persuasive, no? Now imagine saying, "Do Not Enter." That would create the caution you would like to convey to your reader.
Why Are They Important?
As discussed above, contractions can make your writing more relevant and welcoming. It can also play a significant role in understanding the characters of your story, their tone, lifestyle, etc. If your story is ever played out on stage, contractions can help with the accent and pronunciation of the words.
Contractions are a considerable part of colloquial language. When such language needs to be reflected in your writing, you must use them. However, do not overdo or misuse them. When using them, you might make mistakes, mainly when a context isn't provided.
Avoid using contractions in formal writing. It might affect your credibility and make your writing not relatable to the global audience.