List of Contractions in English Contractions Contractions in English

List of Contractions in English Contractions Contractions in English

Wikipedia:List of English contractions

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This list is part of the internal Wikipedia Manual of Style . For encyclopedic information see English auxiliaries and contractions .
This is an explanatory supplement to the Wikipedia:Manual of Style guideline.

This page is intended to provide additional information about concepts in the page(s) it supplements. This page is not one of Wikipedia’s policies or guidelines , as it has not been thoroughly vetted by the community .

This is a list of various contractions used in the English language . Per Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Abbreviations § Contractions these should not be used in encyclopedic prose, only in direct quotations .

Some acronyms are formed by contraction (e.g. COINTELPRO ); these are covered at Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Abbreviations § Acronyms . Some trademarks (e.g. Nabisco ) and titles of published works (e.g. ” Ain’t That a Shame “) consist of or contain contractions; these are covered at Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Trademarks and Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Titles , respectively.

Please note that this page can be edited by anyone. It is illustrative, not exhaustively, and some of its entries are colloquial or obsolete.

Also, please note that many other proper contractions can be formed by combining various contractions listed here.

Please also note that some of these contractions might not be real english words, but they are frequently used by other people. Notice that some contractions don’t include apostrophes, because of just combining two words together.

contractionMeaning
ain’t am not / is not / are not / has not / have not / did not (colloquial) [1]
amn’tam not [2]
aren’tare not [3]
can’t (rarely, cain’t)cannot
’causebecause
could’vecould have
couldn’tcould not
couldn’t’vecould not have
daren’tdare not / dared not
daresn’tdare not
dasn’tdare not
didn’tdid not
doesn’tdoes not
don’tdo not / does not [4]
e’erever
everyone’severyone is
finnafixing to (colloquial)
gimmegive me
gonnagoing to
gon’tgo not (colloquial)
gottagot to
hadn’thad not
hasn’thas not
haven’thave not
he’dhe had / he would
he’llhe shall / he will
he’she has / he is
he’vehe have
how’dhow did / how would
how’llhow will
how’rehow are
how’show has / how is / how does
I’dI had / I would
I’llI shall / I will
I’mI am
I’m’aI am about to
I’m’oI am going to
I’veI have
isn’tis not
it’dit would
it’llit shall / it will
it’sit has / it is
let’slet us
mayn’tmay not
may’vemay have
mightn’tmight not
might’vemight have
mustn’tmust not
mustn’t’vemust not have
must’vemust have
needn’tneed not
ne’ernever
o’clockof the clock
o’erover
ol’old
oughtn’tought not
‘sis, has, does, or us
shalln’tshall not (archaic)
shan’tshall not
she’dshe had / she would
she’llshe shall / she will
she’sshe has / she is
should’veshould have
shouldn’tshould not
shouldn’t’veshould not have
somebody’ssomebody has / somebody is
someone’ssomeone has / someone is
something’ssomething has / something is
that’llthat shall / that will
that’rethat are
that’sthat has / that is
that’dthat would / that had
there’dthere had / there would
there’llthere shall / there will
there’rethere are
there’sthere has / there is
these’rethese are
they’dthey had / they would
they’llthey shall / they will
they’rethey are / they were
they’vethey have
this’sthis has / this is
those’rethose are
’tisit is
’twasit was
wasn’twas not
we’dwe had / we would
we’d’vewe would have
we’llwe will
we’rewe are
we’vewe have
weren’twere not
what’dwhat did
what’llwhat shall / what will/ what all
what’rewhat are
what’swhat has / what is / what does
what’vewhat have
when’swhen has / when is
where’dwhere did
where’rewhere are
where’swhere has / where is / where does
where’vewhere have
which’swhich has / which is
who’dwho would / who had / who did
who’d’vewho would have
who’llwho shall / who will
who’rewho are
who’swho has / who is / who does
who’vewho have
why’dwhy did
why’rewhy are
why’swhy has / why is / why does
won’twill not
would’vewould have
wouldn’twould not
y’allyou all (colloquial)
you’dyou had / you would
you’llyou shall / you will
you’reyou are
you’veyou have
noun‘snoun is (possessive forms of many nouns are homographic to this contraction)
noun(s)‘renoun(s) are (forms of many nouns are homographic to this contraction)

References and notes[ edit ]

  1. ^ Ain’t is used colloquially by some speakers as a substitute for a number of contractions, but is considered incorrect by others.
  2. ^ Amn’t is primarily used in Scottish and Irish English.
  3. ^ Aren’t is usually a contraction of “are not”; however, it can be used as a contraction of “am not” in questions (e.g. “Aren’t I the greatest?”), though this is often considered colloquial.
  4. ^ Don’t can be used to mean “does not”; however, this is considered colloquial to most speakers.

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        Contractions

        from English Grammar Today

        We use contractions (I’m, we’re) in everyday speech and informal writing. Contractions, which are sometimes called ‘short forms’, commonly combine a pronoun or noun and a verb, or a verb and not, in a shorter form. Contractions are usually not appropriate in formal writing.

        We make contractions with auxiliary verbs, and also with be and have when they are not auxiliary verbs. When we make a contraction, we commonly put an apostrophe in place of a missing letter.

        The following are the most common contractions.

         

        Contractions with I, you, he, she, it, we, and they

        ’m = am (I’m)

        ’re = are (you’re, we’re, they’re)

        ’s = is and has (he’s, she’s, it’s)

        ’ve = have (’ve, you’ve, we’ve, they’ve)

        ’ll = will (I’ll, you’ll, he’ll, she’ll, it’ll, we’ll, they’ll)

        ’d = had and would (I’d, you’d, he’d, she’d, it’d, we’d, they’d)

        Contractions with auxiliary verb and not

        The contraction for not is n’t:

        aren’t

        =

        are not (we aren’t, you aren’t)

        can’t

        =

        cannot

        couldn’t

        =

        could not

        didn’t

        =

        did not (I didn’t, they didn’t)

        hasn’t

        =

        has not

        haven’t

        =

        have not

        isn’t

        =

        is not (she isn’t, it isn’t)

        mustn’t

        =

        must not

        shan’t

        =

        shall not

        shouldn’t

        =

        should not

        wasn’t

        =

        was not

        weren’t

        =

        were not

        won’t

        =

        will not

        wouldn’t

        =

        would not

        We use contractions with be + negative in two ways:

        She is not is contracted to she isn’t or she’s not. I am not is only contracted to I’m not. Not: I’m n’t or I am n’t. They are not is contracted to they aren’t or they’re not. The isn’t / aren’t contractions are more common after nouns. The ’s / ’re not contractions are more common after pronouns: The cakes aren’t ready yet. She’s not a friend of mine.

        Other contractions

        Contractions can occur after nouns, names, here, there and now and question words. These contractions are not considered appropriate in formal writing:

        My sister’s got married.

        =

        My sister has got married.

        John’ll be very happy.

        =

        John will be very happy.

        Here’s the coffee.

        =

        Here is the coffee.

        There’s your watch.

        =

        There is your watch.

        Now’s your chance.

        =

        Now is your chance.

        Where’s the milk?

        =

        Where is the milk?

        What’s happened?

        =

        What has happened?

        We don’t use more than one contraction:

        He’s not free.

        Not: he’sn’t free.

        We don’t use affirmative contractions at the end of clauses:

        A:

        I think we’re lost.

        B:

        Yes, I think we are.

        Not: I think we’re

        However, we do use negative contractions at the end of clauses and we do commonly use contractions in tag questions:

        A:

        You’ve contacted Jan, haven’t you?

        B:

        No, I haven’t.

        In question forms, am not is contracted to aren’t:

        I’m getting a pay rise, aren’t I?

        Not: amn’t I?

        See also:

        • Apostrophe (’)

        • Let, let’s

        • It’s or its?

        • Spelling

        • Tags

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        Table of contents
        • Adjectives and adverbs

          • about adjectives and adverbs
          • adjectives
          • adjective and adverb phrases
          • common adverbs
          • comparatives and superlatives
          • adverbs of degree
          • adverbs of place and movement
          • adverbs of time and frequency
        • Easily confused words

          • Above or over?
          • Across, over or through?
          • Advice or advise?
          • Affect or effect?
          • All or every?
          • All or whole?
          • Allow, permit or let?
          • Almost or nearly?
          • Alone, lonely, or lonesome?
          • Along or alongside?
          • Already, still or yet?
          • Also, as well or too?
          • Alternate(ly), alternative(ly)
          • Although or though?
          • Altogether or all together?
          • Amount of, number of or quantity of?
          • Any more or anymore?
          • Anyone, anybody or anything?
          • Apart from or except for?
          • Arise or rise?
          • Around or round?
          • Arouse or rouse?
          • As or like?
          • As, because or since?
          • As, when or while?
          • Been or gone?
          • Begin or start?
          • Beside or besides?
          • Between or among?
          • Born or borne?
          • Bring, take and fetch
          • Can, could or may?
          • Classic or classical?
          • Come or go?
          • Consider or regard?
          • Consist, comprise or compose?
          • Content or contents?
          • Different from, different to or different than?
          • Do or make?
          • Down, downwards or downward?
          • During or for?
          • Each or every?
          • East or eastern; north or northern?
          • Economic or economical?
          • Efficient or effective?
          • Elder, eldest or older, oldest?
          • End or finish?
          • Especially or specially?
          • Every one or everyone?
          • Except or except for?
          • Expect, hope or wait?
          • Experience or experiment?
          • Fall or fall down?
          • Far or a long way?
          • Farther, farthest or further, furthest?
          • Fast, quick or quickly?
          • Fell or felt?
          • Female or feminine; male or masculine?
          • Finally, at last, lastly or in the end?
          • First, firstly or at first?
          • Fit or suit?
          • Following or the following?
          • For or since?
          • Forget or leave?
          • Full or filled?
          • Fun or funny?
          • Get or go?
          • Grateful or thankful?
          • Hear or listen (to)?
          • High or tall?
          • Historic or historical?
          • House or home?
          • How is …? or What is … like?
          • If or when?
          • If or whether?
          • Ill or sick?
          • Imply or infer?
          • In the way or on the way?
          • It’s or its?
          • Late or lately?
          • Lay or lie?
          • Lend or borrow?
          • Less or fewer?
          • Look at, see or watch?
          • Low or short?
          • Man, mankind or people?
          • Maybe or may be?
          • Maybe or perhaps?
          • Nearest or next?
          • Never or not … ever?
          • Nice or sympathetic?
          • No doubt or without doubt?
          • No or not?
          • Nowadays, these days or today?
          • Open or opened?
          • Opportunity or possibility?
          • Opposite or in front of?
          • Other, others, the other or another?
          • Out or out of?
          • Permit or permission?
          • Person, persons or people?
          • Pick or pick up?
          • Play or game?
          • Politics, political, politician or policy?
          • Price or prize?
          • Principal or principle?
          • Quiet or quite?
          • Raise or rise?
          • Remember or remind?
          • Right or rightly?
          • Rob or steal?
          • Say or tell?
          • So that or in order that?
          • Sometimes or sometime?
          • Sound or noise?
          • Speak or talk?
          • Such or so?
          • There, their or they’re?
          • Towards or toward?
          • Wait or wait for?
          • Wake, wake up or awaken?
          • Worth or worthwhile?
        • Nouns, pronouns and determiners

          • about nouns
          • common nouns
          • determiners
          • noun phrases
          • pronouns
          • quantifiers
          • question words
          • uncountable nouns
        • Prepositions and particles

          • Above
          • After
          • Against
          • Among and amongst
          • At
          • At, in and to (movement)
          • At, on and in (place)
          • At, on and in (time)
          • Below
          • Beneath: meaning and use
          • Beyond
          • By + myself etc.
          • During
          • For
          • For + -ing
          • From
          • In front of
          • In spite of and despite
          • In, into
          • Near and near to
          • Of
          • On, onto
          • Over
          • Prepositional phrases
          • Prepositions
          • To
          • Under
          • Until
          • With
          • Within
          • Without
        • Words, sentences and clauses

          • about words, clauses and sentences
          • as and as expressions
          • comparing and contrasting
          • conditionals and wishes
          • linking words and expressions
          • questions and negative sentences
          • relative clauses
          • reported speech
          • so and such
          • word formation
          • word order and focus
        • Using English

          • discourse markers
          • emphasising and downtoning
          • functions
          • numbers
          • people and places
          • speaking
          • types of English (formal, informal, etc.)
          • useful phrases
          • writing

            • Apostrophe (’)
            • Contractions
            • Detached impersonal style
            • Internet discourse and text messages
            • It, this and that in paragraphs
            • Paragraphs
            • Punctuation
            • Speech into writing
            • Spelling
            • Dates
        • Verbs

          • about verbs
          • be and be expressions
          • common verbs
          • future
          • infinitives and imperatives
          • modals and modality
          • passive
          • past
          • present
          • verb patterns

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        What Are Contractions in Grammar? List of Contractions

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        Contraction 'can't'
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        by
        Richard Nordquist
        Updated May 20, 2018

        A contraction is a word or phrase that’s (that has) been shortened by dropping one or more letters. In writing, an apostrophe takes the place of the missing letters. Contractions are commonly used in  speech  (or written dialogue), informal forms of writing, and where space is at a premium, such as in advertising.

        In very formal writing, such as academic papers, grant proposals, or other works that need to appear professional, you may not want to use contractions at all.

        Why Do We Use Contractions?

        We rely on contractions all the time in normal conversation. As Ben Yagoda wrote in The Sound on the Page, “In speech, there is an expectation that anyone who’s not prissy or pretentious or is emphasizing a point will use [contractions] whenever possible.”

        Some people are under the impression that contractions should never appear in writing, but this belief is mistaken. The use of contractions is directly related to tone.

        In informal writing (from text messages and blogs to memos and personal essays ), we often rely on contractions to maintain a colloquial tone . In more formal writing assignments (such as academic reports or term papers ), avoiding contractions is a way of establishing a more serious tone.

        Before deciding whether to use contractions in a writing assignment, consider your audience and your purpose for writing.

        The Contractive Apostrophe

        In telescoped words and phrases (e.g., doesn’t, there’s, sou’wester), an apostrophe marks the spot where one or more letters have been omitted.

        It is not necessarily where the words have been joined.

        The Oxford Style Manual points out that shan’t (for shall not) “has only one apostrophe.” A century ago it was spelled sha’n’t. But then again, anybody who uses the word shan’t probably already knows this.

        Some people, such as the Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw , have been in favor of eliminating apostrophes entirely.

        Shaw called them “uncouth bacilli,” though it’s unlikely that Shaw’s analogy to bacteria will help the apostrophe go away anytime soon.

        Contracted Nouns and Pronouns

        In casual conversation, contractions involving  nouns  are fairly common (“My dad’ll be home soon”). In writing, however, they’re much rarer than contractions with  pronouns such as I’ll, he’d, and she’s. You can contract proper nouns to mean is or has, such as in “Shelly’s coming with us,” or “Jeff’s bought a new computer.” Watch out for the homonyms who’s and whose; the contraction is “who is” or “who has,” and the whole word is possessive, as in “Whose car is that?” And of course, if you’re visiting the South, you’ll likely hear the colloquial “y’all” for “you all.”

        Negative Contractions and Verb Contractions

        Contractions are often made with auxiliary, or helping, verbs, such as to be, do, have, and can. We can say “it isn’t raining” or “it’s not raining.” But we cannot say “it’sn’t raining.” In negative clauses, we often have a choice between negative contractions like not (n’t) and contracting the pronoun and verb (it’s). But we can’t do both. 

        Contracting ‘Not’

        The contracted form of not (n’t) can be attached to  finite forms  of the  helping verbs  be, do, and have.

        However, amn’t (mainly Scottish and Irish) is extremely rare, unlike the disparaged ain’t .

        The n’t form can also be attached to most of the modal auxiliaries  such as can’t, couldn’t, mustn’t, shouldn’t, won’t, and wouldn’t. Yet, you won’t hear many Americans saying mayn’t or shan’t; even those contractions are too formal.

        Contractions in Tag Questions

        A tag question is a short question added to the end of a  declarative sentence , usually to make sure that something has been done or understood. For example, “It’s a tag question, isn’t it?”

        Because of their colloquial nature, negative tags are commonly contracted:  didn’t we? haven’t you? aren’t they? This is much less formal than did not we? or did we not?

        Ambiguous Contractions

        Most contractions ending in ‘d and ‘s are ambiguous. The ‘d can represent either had or would‘s can represent either has or is.

        All the same, the meaning of these contractions is usually clear from the  context . For instance, “Sam’s finished his term paper” implies completion in the past, Sam has finished while “Sam’s dead” is in the present tense, meaning Sam is.

        Multiple Contractions

        They may look odd in print, but certain multiple contractions such as I’d’ve (or I’d’a) and wouldn’t’ve are fairly common in speech. We like shortcuts, so it’s easy to say something like, “If I’d’ve told you the real reason, you probably wouldn’t’ve come back with me.” Quite often, we don’t even notice it. The words just run together as we talk.

        Under the category of rarities, there are a few double and even triple contracted nautical terms. These include words like bo’s’n (short for boatswain) and fo’c’s’le (a variant of forecastle), words that landlubbers can probably live without.

        Before you start recklessly sprinkling apostrophes everywhere, make sure you’re not putting an apostrophe plus s on something that should actually be plural: i.e., the  greengrocer’s apostrophe .

        Aphaeresis, Syncope, and Apocope

        Another common type of linguistic shortening (or  elision ) is the omission of certain sounds or letters from an individual word.

        In phonetics , elision at the beginning of a word (for instance, gator from alligator) is called aphaeresis . In the middle of a word (ma’am from madam), it is a syncope . When it appears at the end of a word (ad from advertisement), we call it an apocope .

        Aphaeresis and apocope can occur together, as in flu—a  clipped  form of influenza.

        Beware Homophones

        For some of these, it’s a very common mistake to use a contraction when you really need to use a similar word. A perfect example is  they’re and their , which are homophones .

        To determine whether the contraction is appropriate, ask yourself if it makes sense without the contraction: Does they are make sense? If not, then, you should probably be using the adjective their. Of course, if you’re speaking about a place, then there is the correct word.

        Another problem comes up with its and it’s. Use the same test. If you mean “it is,” then use the contraction. If you want the pronoun (which takes the place of a noun), then use its. Isn’t English fun?

        Standard Contractions in English

        In the following table, you’ll find a list of more than 70 contractions in English.

        aren’tare not
        can’tcannot
        couldn’tcould not
        could’vecould have
        didn’tdid not
        doesn’tdoes not
        don’t

        do not

        e’erever
        hadn’thad not
        hasn’thas not
        haven’thave not
        he’dhe had; he would
        he’llhe will; he shall
        he’she is; he has
        I’dI had; I would
        I’llI will; I shall
        I’mI am
        I’veI have
        isn’tis not
        it’dit would
        it’llit shall; it will
        it’s it is; it has
        let’slet us
        ma’ammadam
        mightn’tmight not
        might’vemight have
        mustn’t must not
        must’vemust have
        ‘n’and
        needn’tneed not
        ne’ernever
        o’erover
        ol’old
        oughtn’tought not
        shan’tshall not
        she’dshe had; she would
        she’llshe will; she shall
        she’sshe is; she has
        shouldn’tshould not
        should’veshould have
        that’dthat would
        that’sthat is; that has
        there’dthere had; there would
        there’llthere shall; there will
        there’sthere has; there is
        they’dthey had; they would
        they’llthey will; they shall
        they’rethey are
        they’vethey have
        ’twasit was
        wasn’twas not
        we’dwe had; we would
        we’llwe will
        we’re we are
        we’vewe have
        weren’twere not
        what’llwhat will; what shall
        what’rewhat are
        what’swhat is; what has; what does
        what’vewhat have
        where’dwhere did
        where’swhere is; where has
        who’dwho had; who would
        who’llwho will; who shall
        who’s who is; who has
        who’vewho have
        why’dwhy did
        won’twill not
        wouldn’twould not
        would’vewould have
        you’dyou had; you would
        you’llyou will; you shall
        you’reyou are
        you’veyou have

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