A contraction is a shortened version of the written and spoken forms of a word, syllable, or word group, created by omission of internal letters.

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“If you don't do it, I'll”. Why does that sentence feel so awkward? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Is there some rule against ending a sentence with the contraction “it’s”? Earlier today while writing a very informal email, I expressed: If you don't do it, I will. ...
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2answers
650 views

Explanation for “them's”

Recently someone said to me: Them's the rules I thought he had the sentence wrong, but as it turns out it is slang. I am learning English as a second language and I would really appreciate if ...
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5answers
2k views

“that's why” in formal essays

"I'm", "it's" are forbidden in formal essays. Can I use "that's why" in the opening of my Statement of Purpose? Fancy flights used to fill me with euphoria, that's why I named myself Joseph, but ...
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3answers
671 views

There isn't and there is no [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: “There is no rule” vs. “there isn’t rule” If I'm not mistaken, both "There isn't a storm." and "There is no storm." have the same meaning. I understand that the first ...
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2answers
1k views

Is a possessive noun a contraction?

I was told not to use contractions in an essay. My classmate wrote "the argument of Emily" but I preferred "Emily's argument". He disagreed and claimed "Emily's" is a contraction.
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2answers
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“I wouldn't ever” vs. “I would never”

The two expressions from the title, “I wouldn't ever” and “I would never”, are very similar. But are they completely equivalent or do they bear any subtle differences? If so, how do they differ in ...
2
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2answers
176 views

Use of contractions in an exam

I am teaching Intermediate Level English to exam students in Spain and I have been asked when is it correct to use contractions. I am of the understanding that, in an oral or written exam, it would be ...
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2answers
2k views

“I won't” vs. “I'll not”

I won’t and I’ll not are both short forms of I will not. Both are used in English. Are there any situations where one is preferred over other?
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3answers
703 views

Were contractions used in spoken English in 18th-century London?

I am currently writing a story set in London of 1795. I am trying my best to avoid linguistic anachronisms in the dialogue, but I have had difficulty finding reliable resources regarding spoken ...
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1answer
1k views

What's wrong with this sentence? [closed]

I've noticed a few times recently that a generic, but well known text editor seems to be flagging up stuff that I'm sure is correct. For example, in the below sentence, the generic, but well known ...
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1answer
2k views

“No, I don't” or “No, I do not” in responding English questions

Consider: A: Do you like ice cream? B: No, I don't. Usually in a grammar book when you answer someone's question with negation you'll use shortened answer as in "I don't". I know you can ...
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2answers
294 views

How was “ben't” used, and when did it cease to be used?

In Jane Austen's The Watsons, the maid of the titular family utters the following sentence: "Please, ma'am, master wants to know why he ben't to have his dinner?" I have never encountered ben't ...
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1answer
320 views

Usage of “ain't” in formal conversation

Is it okay to use ain't in formal conversation? I know ain't can be used for am not, is not, are not, have not, has not. So if I can use it in day-to-day life, it will be easier for me I guess.
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3answers
3k views

Why does “Why doesn't it work?” become “Why does it not work?”

When you uncontract doesn't in "Why doesn't it work?" the not moves to "Why does it not work?" This confuses me even more when I use a longer phrase instead of the pronoun it like below: Why ...
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1answer
956 views

“Is it not raining” vs. “Isn't it raining”? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Tag Questions “is he not” Which is correct: Is it not raining today? Isn't it raining today?
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3answers
3k views

Counting contractions as one or two words [closed]

I read this in a product review, and it has been bugging me all day. Three words: it's really cheap. "It's" is obviously a contraction of two words, but does it count as one or two words?
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3answers
2k views

Is “that've” a valid contraction for “that have”?

Is "that've" a valid contraction for "that have"? For example, the sentence: "I've been working with some substances that've been detrimental to my health." It follows the patterns of other similar ...
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1answer
17k views

When to use “cannot” versus “can't”?

When is it best to write "can't" versus writing "cannot"? Are they interchangeable in every situation?
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2answers
317 views

Is there a rule for when contractions are not possible? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Is there some rule against ending a sentence with the contraction “it's”? In conversing with non-native English speakers online, I saw someone type: ...
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1answer
148 views

Should a contraction taken from the center of a word have two apostrophes? [closed]

I'm currently reading Entrepreneur Magazine, and there is a story profiling a 13-year-old who created a series of stickers to embellish Lego blocks. The subtitle of the story reads A pint-size ...
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2answers
788 views

“You're not” vs. “you ain't” [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What does “ain't” mean? What's the difference between "you're not" and "you ain't" ("...coming home")? I do realize that ain't is a contraction of are ...
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2answers
1k views

What is the correct usage of contractions like “isn't” and “wasn't”? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Do contractions (e.g. “don't”) and full phrases (e.g. “do not”) have the same meaning? I frequently see contractions such as "isn't" and ...
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0answers
52 views

When can one use a contraction at the end of a sentence? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Is there some rule against ending a sentence with the contraction “it's”? Sometimes it's fine to use a contraction at the end of a sentence: "If you're ...
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4answers
206 views

“Can take no other” vs. “can't take other”

As an ESL I'm not sure if I can use the following sentences: You can take no other directions. I'm using it on giving indications to a foreigner. Should I use instead: You can't take other ...
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2answers
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Apostrophes in contractions: shan't, sha'n't or sha'nt?

I came across the word sha'n't when reading Winnie the Pooh the other day and it cast me into a Thoughtful Mood concerning the Appropriate Spelling of this word. This word is a contraction of "shall ...
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3answers
3k views

Difference between “I haven't” and “I've not” etc

If I have three consecutive words where each adjacent pair can be contracted, e.g. "I would have" or "You are not", is there a difference between the two possible contractions, e.g. "I would've" or ...
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5answers
7k views

“There isn't” vs. “there's not”

They both expand to "there is not" but for some reason "There's not" sounds indescribably uncomfortable for most situations. Can anyone elucidate why this might be? Or am I wrong? EDIT: Let me ...
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2answers
1k views

Tag Questions “is he not”

"He is happy, isn't he?" If you did not use the contraction isn't he, in the question above, would the correct sentence be: "He is happy, is he not?" "He is happy, is not he?" Sentence #1 seems ...
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1answer
297 views

Pronunciation of “'ll”

How do I read the following sentences (especially in conversational speech)? The dog'll eat the bones. Tom'll go to school. Anna'll come tomorrow. I mean the sound of 'll.
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1answer
849 views

Is “<NOUN>'s” (contraction) proper English? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: When is it grammatically correct to create a contraction of words followed by “is”? Using contracted forms (“don't”, “let's”) in a formal text Should ...
2
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1answer
217 views

Why is there an apostrophe in “h'm”?

By that I refer to the sound people make when they're thinking. Most people write "hm" nowadays, so they may not know of this, but traditionally, people wrote it as "h'm". The apostrophe can't ...
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1answer
167 views

Should the use of apostrophes be consistent?

It is time to rock, but don't be too loud. Is it recommended to stay consistent with the use of apostrophes? Should it instead be: It's time to rock, but don't be too loud. If that is fine ...
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5answers
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Why is “Why don't you like ___?” okay, but “Why do not you like?” ___?“ isn't?” [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Is “Don't you know? ” the same as “Do not you know?”? "Why don't you like?" seems commonly used, but I never hear "Why do not you like?" ...
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0answers
38 views

Do you put double dots when a contraction occurs at the end of the sentence? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: When “etc.” is at the end of a phrase, do you place a period after it? Is it grammatically correct to use two dots at the end of the contraction 'etc' when ...
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1answer
2k views

“We're not” vs. “we aren't”

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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3answers
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How to pronounce the programmer's abbreviation “char”

In many programming languages, char is a type name for character values. The word character is pronounced with a [k] sound, but what about char? While trying to find the answer elsewhere, I learnt ...
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2answers
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Does the 18th century contraction “on't” survive phonologically in English today?

The February 18th-24th edition of The Economist has an article titled "Neurons v free will" in which the author, Anthony Gottlieb begins by quoting Dr. Johnson's statement about free will: "Sir ...
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2answers
10k views

Does “he's” mean both “he is” and “he has”? [closed]

It is alright to use the same contraction, 'He's', to mean both 'He is' and 'He has'? Example, " He's angry.", "He's been angry.", He's a beautiful house."
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4answers
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Different pronunciations of “she's” depending on the meaning

According to The Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary, the contraction she's may be pronounced both with a short [i] sound(as in pit) and a long [i:] sound(as in sheep) when it means she is, but it ...
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1answer
266 views

Distinguish contraction of “ain't”

I know the contraction of am not, is not, are not, has not, have not, do not, does not, and did not can be represented as ain't. How can I understand correctly which contraction the speaker meant?
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3answers
3k views

How can we distinguish between “I would” and “I had” if someone says “I'd”?

How can we unambiguously distinguish between I would and I had, if the native English speaker used the contraction I'd? For instance, I'd read the newspaper. We can mean the above sentence as either ...
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6answers
2k views

Are contractions of “I am” or “I would” rude? [closed]

I got edited on Stack Overflow because I used "I'm", "you're" and "I'd" instead of "I am" etc. Is it considered rude to use contractions like that in informal conversations on the internet? I would ...
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2answers
418 views

When and where did “not” become commonly used in contraction for, as in “didn't”? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Were contractions less common in olden days? I have read some old books in which they did not use "didn't", "wasn't", or similar contractions with "not". I just watched ...
4
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0answers
169 views

“Aren't I” vs “Amn't I” [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Why “ain't I” and “aren't I” instead of “amn't I”? Why do we say "aren't I" rather than "amn't I"? Is it purely for ease ...
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3answers
319 views

Is there a word/term for a “super-contraction”

I am doing some informal research into dynamic speech and narrative generation, and I've been looking into some local colloquialism and having a little bit of difficultly classifying a set of them. I ...
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2answers
576 views

Why/When need some kind of short spelling or pronunciation?

In regular usage, nowadays we use short spellings of words in speaking or writing. For example: They are in the cinema. => They're in the cinema. We have been waiting for me. => We've been waiting ...
4
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3answers
469 views

Is it okay to say “Yes you're.” instead of “Yes you are.”? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Is there some rule against ending a sentence with the contraction “it's”? I was having an SMS conversation with a friend and somehow "Yes you're" came ...
3
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0answers
100 views

Can you chain / combine contractions in correct English? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Can a word be contracted twice (e.g. “I'ven't”)? I would like to know if it is proper to chain multiple contractions into a single word when they are ...
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2answers
2k views

Is it incorrect to say, “Why cannot…?”

At any point in history was "Why cannot...?" used as frequently as "Why can't...?" Is it even grammatically correct to say "Why cannot you do this?" I know it can be rearranged to be "Why can you not ...
10
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2answers
758 views

What is the uncontracted form of “won't ever”?

I read in a book lately: This is my home and it won't ever be the same again. I was wondering whether the proper uncontracted form would be: This is my home and it will not ever be the same ...