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I'm just curious if there are any "official" rules (or opinions either way) about what form to use when three words can be contracted on either side.

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Given these are primarily spoken forms, and that ordinarily we're only going to apply one of the two possible contractions, I imagine we tend to just apply the first one because it comes first - by the time we get to the second one it's just too late to get a look-in. I don't think this implies any difference in meaning - it just shows we don't plan all our speech that far in advance. –  FumbleFingers Mar 5 '12 at 23:57
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I think it depends to some degree on dialect. I'm sure that "I'll not" is not as rare in Northern England and Scotland as in the South (though I think "I won't" is more common everywhere). –  Colin Fine Mar 6 '12 at 15:23
    
Interesting counter-example to the "it comes first" theory, Colin. –  devios Mar 6 '12 at 15:27

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up vote 7 down vote accepted

Well, since they do mean the same thing, I would think that they are generally interchangeable. Both are grammatically valid, but there is one reason to use one over the other; if you are trying to increase the emphasis on one word, don't contract it. For example, if I am trying to emphasize the fact that we're not [something]:

We're not criminals.

If you are trying to emphasize the fact that there are multiple people, you might use we aren't:

We aren't going to let you take our pets!

(To me, the first has more emphasis on not than the second does on we.)

That's the only difference I can see; other than that, there probably aren't many others. Also, NGrams claims that we're not is more popular:

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+1 for pointing out emphasis –  Bidella Mar 6 '12 at 0:09

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