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.
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'll||I will / I shall|
|I'd||I had / I would / I should|
|You'd||You had / You would|
|He's||He has / He is|
|He'd||He had / He would|
|She's||She has / She is|
|She'd||She had / She would|
|It's||It has / It is|
|We'd||We had / We would|
|They'd||They had / They would|
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|
|can't||cannot, can not|
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 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?
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
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?