Posted 12:27 by Sailaja Prakash in Labels:

We often "contract" or shorten words in English. For example, we may say "he's" instead of "he is". Note that we usually insert an apostrophe (') in place of the missing letter or letters in writing. Here are some example sentences.

I haven't seen him. = I have not seen him.

Who's calling? = Who is calling?

They're coming. = They are coming.

We do this especially when we speak. We do not contract words so much in writing.

Positive Contractions:

Be careful. Some contractions have two or three meanings. For example, he'd can be he had or he would. It depends on the rest of the sentence. Look at these examples:

He'd like to go. = He would like to go.

He'd finished when arrived. = He had finished when arrived.

The contraction's (=is or has) is not used only with pronouns. It can also be used with nouns, names, question words and words like "here" and "there", for example:

The train's late. = The train is late.

John's arrived. = John is arrived.

Where's the phone? = Where is the phone?

Here's your change. = Here is your change.

There's a policeman. = There is a policeman.

Short Form Long Form
I'm I am
I've I have
I'll I will / I shall
I'd I had / I would / I should
You're You are
You've You have
You'll You will
You'd You had / You would
He's He has / He is
He'll He will
He'd He had / He would
She's She has / She is
She'll She will
She'd She had / She would
It's It has / It is
It'll It will
We're We are
We've We have
We'll We will
We'd We had / We would
They're They are
They've They have
They'll They will
They'd They had / They would

Negative Contractions:

With the verb "to be", two negative forms are possible -

we aren't or we're not etc.

In questions, am not is contracted to aren't, for example:

I'm late, aren't I?

Short Form Long Form
aren't are not
can't cannot, can not
couldn't could not
daren't dare not
didn't did not
doesn't does not
don't do not
hasn't has not
haven't have not
hadn't had not
isn't is not
mayn't may not
mightn't might not
mustn't must not
needn't need not
oughtn't ought 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

Other Contractions:

Here are some more examples showing some very common contractions.

Short Form Long Form Example
here's here is Here's your meal.
there'll there will There'll be nobody tomorrow.
there's there is There's a taxi!
that's that is That's my car!
that'll that will That'll be $10, please.
how's how is? How's your wife?
what'll what will? What'll people think?
when's when is? When's the wedding?
where's where is? Where is the cinema?
who's who is? Who's your teacher?
what's what is? What's the matter?
who'd who would? Who'd like ice-cream?
who'll who will? Who'll be there?

Informal Contractions:

Informal contractions are short forms of other words that people use when speaking casually. They are not exactly slang, but they are a little like slang.

For example, "gonna" is short form of "going to". If you say "going to" very fast, without carefully pronouncing each word, it can sound like "gonna".

Please remember that these are informal contractions. That means that we do not use them in correct speech, and we almost never use them in writing. (If you see them in writing, for example in a comic strip, that is because the written words represent the spoken words or dialogue.) We normally use them only when speaking fast and casually, for example with friends. Some people never use them even in informal speech.

It is probably true to say that informal contractions are more common in American English.

Also note that, unlike normal contractions, we do not usually use apostrophes (') with informal contractions when written.

On the right are some informal contractions, with example sentences. Note that the example sentences may be a little artificial because when we use a contraction we may also use other contractions in the same sentence, or even drop some words completely. For example:

What are you going to do?

Whatcha going to do?

Whatcha gonna do?


Do you want a beer?

Do you wanna beer?

D'you wanna beer?

D'ya wanna beer?

D'y wanna beer?

Ya wanna beer?

Wanna beer?


These informal contractions are not "correct" English. Do not use them in a written exam, for example, except in appropriate situations.

ain't = am not / are not / is not

I ain't sure.
You ain't my boss.

ain't = has not / have not

I ain't done it.
She ain't finished yet.

gimme = give me

Gimme your money.
Don't gimme that rubbish.
Can you gimme a hand?

gonna = going to

Nothing's gonna change my love towards you.
I'm not gonna tell you.
What are you gonna do?

gotta = got a

I've gotta gun.
I gotta gun.
She hasn't gotta penny.
Have you gotta car?
I've gotta go now.
We haven't gotta do that.
Have they gotta work?

kinda = kind of

She's kinda cute.

lemme = let me

Lemme go!

wanna = want a

I wanna coffee.

wanna = want to

I wanna go home.

whatcha = what are you

Whatcha going to do?

Whatcha = what have you

Whatcha got there?

ya = you

Who saw ya?

3 comment(s) to... “Contractions”


RAHEEL said...

IS the Below is correct.

Department's letter.

Monica Valdez said...

This is brilliant -- learning about contractions is crucial for starting to sound like a native English speaker, and I'll be recommending this blog to all my English students.

Monica V : )

Jeremy Miller said...

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