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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“You ain't able to be sure about anything.”

Does this sentence make any sense to you as a native speaker? The one who said this actually meant to say, "People like you can never be sure about anything" (implying the opposite side is very ...
5
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3answers
10k views

Usage of “ain't”?

As far as I understand, "ain't" can mean either "isn't" (ain't no sunshine) or "hasn't" (you ain't seen nothing yet). Are there any rules when "ain't" is used? Does it have a different meaning than ...
22
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5answers
69k views

“Do's” and “don'ts” or “do's” and “don't's”?

I am making a list to my children telling them what are some of the things they should do and shouldn't. Under one side is "do", and the other is "don't". Would I write "do's" and "don't's"? Cause ...
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1answer
157 views

Impugned and pugn'd

In Jingo, by Terry Pratchet, Lord Vetinari says: "... Sergeant Colon and Corporal Nobbs have never been pugn'd in their entire lives." What about "pugn'd"? Is it just a contraction for ...
8
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1answer
1k views

Word contractions in Shakespeare's plays

In Shakespeare's plays it is common to find contracted words, such as "o'er", "e'en", "sulph'uous", "ta'en". Is it just a literary device or those words were actually pronounced (in day-to-day speech) ...
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4answers
932 views

Can “let us” always be used in place of “let's”?

Me: Perhaps we need to make a left turn at Albuquerque Him: Let us try that Now I would have said, "Let's try that". "Let us" sounds wrong to me in this instance. Is it? Are there ...
7
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3answers
6k views

Does “you're” also qualify as a valid contraction for “you were”?

If not, is there a way to write "you were" in a short form?
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6answers
26k views

“won't” vs. “wouldn't”

Are these two words interchangeable? How do you know when to use one or the other? For some sentences it is easy to know which one to use, but not for others. The type of sentences that are difficult ...
4
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8answers
4k views

Are contractions like “didn't” forbidden in written English? [duplicate]

Possible duplicate of: Using contracted forms (“don't”, “let's”) in a formal text Usage of contractions like “it's” and “that's” in textbooks Should ...
1
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3answers
145 views

When should I use “your”, and when “you're”? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: “Your” vs. “you're”: Why the confusion? Instead of saying "you're free to [...]," I've seen many people use "your free to [...]." I've seen ...
2
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2answers
400 views

Difference between “had [verb] not to” and “hadn't [verb] to”

When we talk about things that we intended to do, but didn't or will not do in the future, we can use past perfect. I did a question in a reference book: I hadn't intended to become a doctor, I ...
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6answers
5k views

Difference in pronunciation between “your” and “you're”?

I'm a native English speaker (Texas counts, I suppose), and I pronounce "your" to rhyme with "core", and "you're" to rhyme with "cure". Is it just me or did I pick this up somewhere?
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7answers
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Who/What decides if a word is “proper” English?

I was taught since kindergarten that "ain't" isn't a proper English word. I was wondering, who determines which words are acceptable and which words are not? Do words ever go from "improper" to ...
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0answers
100 views

“It isn't” versus “it's not” [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: “It isn't” versus “it's not” Is there any difference in meaning, or supposed impression when hearing it?
2
votes
1answer
519 views

Using “it's” vs. using “it is” at the end of a sentence [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Is there some rule against ending a sentence with the contraction “it's”? Why is it that the following sounds incorrect: "Would she know where it's?" ...
3
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2answers
387 views

When is it ok to create a contraction of words followed by “s”?

When is it correct to create a contraction of words followed by is? For instance is who’s a correct short form of who is?
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5answers
8k views

Using contracted forms (“don't”, “let's”) in a formal text

How compelled should I feel to use non-contracted forms (do not rather than don't and so on) when writing in a rather formal text, say an academic paper? In one case I am afraid to seem too stilted, ...
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4answers
6k views

“It isn't” vs. “it's not”

Is one stronger than the other? More correct? Just curious, one of the many abstract things to pop into my head on the drive home today...
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1answer
7k views

“They're not” vs. “they aren't”

How dissimilar are "they're not" and "they aren't"? Is it dependent on context or are these exactly the same? They are supposed to be going, but they are not. They are not going.
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7answers
7k views

Is “Don't you know? ” the same as “Do not you know?”?

Well, we know don't is the same as do not, right? Therefore, can I say "Do not you know?", instead of "Don't you know?"? Well, I know that chances are I can't do that, but technically that should be ...
7
votes
1answer
813 views

With the phrase “good night” do you have to use an apostrophe before the word “night” if you are to omit the use of “good?”

Am I actually contracting the phrase by omitting "good" from it, hence the need for the use of an apostrophe?
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votes
1answer
1k views

Is “as oft” a valid contraction of “as often”? If it is, then why doesn't it have an apostrophe at the end?

Is "as oft" a valid contraction of "as often"? If it is, then why doesn't it have an apostrophe at the end?
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votes
5answers
56k views

Is “there're” (similar to “there's”) a correct contraction?

Q: "Do you have any juice?" A: "Yes, there's some in the fridge." Sounds perfectly fine to me, but: Q: "Do you have any towels?" A: "Yes, there's some in the closet." Does not. I asked ...
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1answer
415 views

“Let's”: similar contractions

First, I'm aware of this question. What I want to know is if there are other similar constructs, done by contracting a verb with "us".
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3answers
886 views

Using abbreviations incorrectly?

In English it's considered correct to ask I do it like this, don't I? or Why can't I go? whereas "don't" is an abbreviation of "do not" and "can't" is an abbreviation of "cannot". ...
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5answers
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Is this usage of “aren't” proper English?

Aren't you going to go outside? My wife insists this is improper English, Hillbilly speak, she calls it. The proper way to ask, she says, is Are you going to go outside? I say it's the same as ...
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4answers
1k views

“There is no rule” vs. “there isn't rule”

What are the differences between the two sentences below: There is no rule. There isn't rule.
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2answers
814 views

Usage of contractions like “it's” and “that's” in textbooks

Is it considered bad style to use abbreviations contractions like "it's" and "that's" (instead of spelling them out as "it is" and "that is") in a textbook or academic publication?
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3answers
14k views

Were contractions less common in olden days?

We just viewed the new movie True Grit. The language of the characters was more formal sounding than we are used to, largely because of the absence of contractions. Is this historically accurate? Do ...
11
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5answers
2k views

Do Americans say “don't” as often as the British?

this is really a question for Americans. When watching US TV or films, it's often my impression that, while using all the other contractions, Americans don't seem so keen on 'don't', but use 'do not' ...
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1answer
13k views

“Do you not” vs. “Don't you”

I live in the UK and I mostly hear people saying Don't you..., but some people say: Do you not...? What is the difference and which one is more correct? You can put any example really. Something ...
4
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3answers
2k views

Can you contract the main verb in a sentence?

One can contract I have to I've when have is a helping verb, e.g. I've got an octopus in my pants. Is contracting the main verb technically incorrect or merely antiquated? My father loves to ...
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1answer
251 views

Contraction for “owe on”; would it be “owe'n” or “ow'n”?

What would the contraction for owe on be, owe'n or ow'n?
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2answers
2k views

Should contractions be avoided in formal emails?

In a formal email of the kind where you begin with "Dear Mr. Surname" and finish with "Best regards", for example, should we use the following contractions? Or are the non contracted forms more ...
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4answers
8k views

What phrase is “o'clock” contracting?

I have been intrigued by the word o'clock since I learned English. Although there is an equivalent to this word in my native language (Spanish en punto meaning on point or on the dot) I want to know ...
3
votes
1answer
25k views

Why is “will not” contracted as “won't”? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What is “won't” a contraction of? The Why is "cannot" spelled as one word? post brought back another oddity I noticed when learning English. The ...
30
votes
6answers
28k views

What is “won't” a contraction of?

"Don't", "wouldn't", "couldn't" and "isn't" are all contractions of "do not", "would not", "could not" and "is not"... So what's "won't" a contraction of? It appears to be "will not", but if so, why ...
11
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7answers
1k views

“Your” vs. “you're”: Why the confusion?

I have seen many comments on different blogs and forums where English native speakers spelled you're as your. I'm not a native speaker, but I know and understand the difference between the two. Why is ...
4
votes
2answers
17k views

Is “could've” or “should've” standard English?

As the title says — is "could've" or "should've" standard English or is it slang and should correctly be spelled "could have" and "should have"?
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3answers
49k views

“Let's” vs. “lets”: which is correct?

Say I'm promoting a product. Which is correct? [Product] let's you [do something awesome]. [Product] lets you [do something awesome]. Or neither?
4
votes
2answers
505 views

Mixing contracted and uncontracted phrases in the same sentence

Is there anything wrong with mixing contracted with uncontracted phrases in the same sentence? Examples: I'm not sure it is possible. ("I'm" is contracted, but "it is" is not). I am not ...
13
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5answers
30k views

“Y'all” or “ya'll”?

I've seen it spelled both ways. Are both correct?
9
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2answers
19k views

Do contractions (e.g. “don't”) and full phrases (e.g. “do not”) have the same meaning?

What is the difference between "don't" and "do not" in the English literature as well as spoken English? Are they same? The same question goes for "wouldn't" and "would not", "couldn't" and "could ...
4
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3answers
3k views

When did “y’all” become improper?

It is my understanding that the contraction y’all was considered correct American English in times past. At what point was this word removed from valid American English?
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4answers
1k views

Contraction for 'are' with nouns

Is this correct? the candys 're in the box, the womens're at the car I know 'you're', 'we're', 'they're' are valid usages, but can it be used for nouns?
14
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7answers
19k views

“that” + “would” = “that'd”?

Is "that'd" an appropriate contraction of "that" and "would"? I say it, but I'm not sure if it's a legitimate contraction in written form.
4
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5answers
7k views

Why is “ain't” not listed in dictionaries?

Google finds 52,000,000 matches for ain't but non-natives simply can't look up this word. Wiktionary isn't helpful. Is it some kind of 'wildcard' for "am/is/are not"?
5
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1answer
229 views

Is there a word for the single letter contractions commonly used in store names? (see examples)

Is there a term for the single letter contractions as used in the following examples? Toys 'r' us Stop 'n' go Note: Trademarks above corrected for proper grammar.
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12answers
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Is “I'd've” proper use of the English language?

While reading a book, I came across the word I'd've, as in: I'd've argued against it. While it was obvious what it meant, it left me puzzled. Is I'd've a proper word?
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4answers
515 views

Is it okay to say and write “ain't” yet?

Over 10 years ago saying "ain't" was discouraged but it was gaining momentum. What happened? Seems like it's still discouraged. Maybe in another 10 years?