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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What is ma'am a contraction of? [on hold]

What is being shortened when using the word "ma'am"? I know it's the more proper and polite (and somewhat dated) way to speak to a woman--but what words is it contracting? Usage: "Nice to meet ...
8
votes
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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0answers
32 views

“isn't/ 's not” and “aren't/'re not.” [on hold]

I'm a non-native English speaker and I always wonder: 's not and 're not are faster and consequently more common than isn't and aren't. Is this accurate or am I wrong here? Thanks
2
votes
1answer
1k views

Shalln't vs. Shan't in British English

I am a British English speaker and often use "shall" and "shall not". When I contract "shall not", I pronounce it [ʃɑlnt] -- that is, the "l" sound remains. My question, therefore, is how do I spell ...
6
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3answers
9k 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 ...
0
votes
0answers
67 views

Meaning of “my boyfriend's back.”

Is "my boyfriend's back" ambiguous, i.e. is there a way to tell if boyfriend's possessive or is it a contraction of boyfriend and is? Does this ambiguity have a name? With pronouns this is clear: ...
1
vote
1answer
445 views

Are “kinda”, “sorta”, “oughta” and “sposta” acceptable in formal writing?

I get that sorta, kinda, sorta-kinda (this one I quite like though) oughta and sposta imitate speech but it still niggles me to find them "in print", especially when the overall tone is formal. ...
10
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5answers
570 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?
-1
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1answer
25 views

Can “you've” be used as a possessive “have”? [duplicate]

Generally, "you've" is used in conjunction with another verb, such as "I see you've arrived" or "She asked if you've seen this". Is it also acceptable to use "you've" without a second verb, using the ...
19
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5answers
661 views

Etymology of “let us” and “let's”

The verb let means “allow”, “permit”, “not prevent or forbid”, “pass, go or come” and it's used with an object and the bare infinitive. Are you going to let me drive or not? Don't let ...
0
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2answers
52 views

Contraction of “There are” to “There're” [duplicate]

I'm a soon published author going through my final edit of the book and I got stuck thinking about this one. I understand that when writing this you should type in "There are". When people are saying ...
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3answers
818 views

It seems natural to say “who'd've” in speech, but is this incorrect?

It definitely seems strange in writing. All of the following make sense: who would have who'd have who would've But what about this? who'd've
0
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1answer
99 views

Is it correct to shorten “you have” to “you've”? [closed]

If "you are" can be shortened to "you're", can "you have" be shortened to "you've"? Is it acceptable? If yes, what are the situations where it can be used?
0
votes
2answers
32 views

apostrophes and possession [duplicate]

So I was taught that I should use apostrophes when something possesses something else, but I'm not sure about the use of it's in the following situation: ...and they found their way to a castle. ...
1
vote
1answer
72 views

Why do we say won't instead of willn't? [duplicate]

If won't is the contraction of will not, where did the "wo" come from in won't? Why is this convention over willn't?
22
votes
6answers
64k 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
81 views

Is there a contraction known as the're?

Recently, one of my relatives started studying the English Language and she came to discuss that the contraction of there are can also be written as the're because that's they way she learnt it at ...
2
votes
2answers
77 views

“I'd done…” vs “I had done…”

Is the former less common for native English speakers because it kinda sound like I done? I'm basing this assumption on Ngrams. But I may be wrong. Example sentences: Plus, I was ashamed to ...
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votes
1answer
63 views

Bob's vs. Bobs? [closed]

Many of my friends use an apostrophe-S after a proper noun to conjoin the word with the word is. For example: "Bob's angry today." This does not make sense to me. I know that an apostrophe can ...
0
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1answer
35 views

Contraction Rampage [duplicate]

I don't see this getting used quite often, but is it alright to use chain contractions in essays, reports, letters, documents, etc.? I shouldn't've'd eaten that doughnut. They'll've a ...
0
votes
2answers
204 views

I know “of” sounds like “ov”. Does “I've” sound like “If”?

I was studying connected speech and I read when we say for example I've finished my homework we pronounce the 've and f in finished as only one sound. Is it only in this case or whenever I ...
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1answer
4k 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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13answers
15k views

Can a word be contracted twice (e.g. “I'ven't”)?

I've seen a contraction of two words. I can't see why it wouldn't be possible to contract twice. Is it possible and how should it be punctuated? Update: Ok, to sum up the answers so far This ...
8
votes
2answers
349 views

Is there an exception to the prohibition against ending a sentence with “ ’s ” at work here?

The ’s can be used as a contraction representing a weak, unstressed word that is not pronounced. It allegedly cannot occur in sentence final position. She is not ready, but he is. She’s not ...
0
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1answer
54 views

Different ways of using <pronoun> + 'd + <verb> [closed]

I'm sorry the title makes little sense but I don't know how to phrase it differently. In a sentence like When I was a kid, I'd go to school every morning the 'd stands for I used to, right? ...
2
votes
3answers
3k 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 ...
7
votes
3answers
143 views

Was “Do not you want to know…” correct 200 years ago, and is now incorrect?

"Do not you want to know who has taken it?'' cried his wife impatiently. -Pride and Prejudice (1813) According to one of the answers in Is "Don't you know? " the same as ...
9
votes
4answers
2k views

Word for describing someone whose name is the opposite of what they are?

I was wondering if there is a word to describe someone whose name is diametrically oppossed to who they are. For instance a firefighter whose last name is Arson or a swimmer whose last name is Dry.
0
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2answers
99 views

the slang contraction of “what'd he” as in the sentence “what'd he come at you with”

What is the slang contraction of "What'd he" as in the sentence "What'd he come at you with"? "What'd he" is already a contraction but I mean in the same manner like whatcha = what're you=what've you, ...
31
votes
5answers
13k views

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 ...
0
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2answers
1k views

Why are contractions considered unprofessional?

I've heard people specify not to use contractions in order to maintain a degree of professionalism. I've heard this mentioned by fellow students while in school as well. I've never heard this with ...
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1answer
67 views

Why are many English contractions considered okay to use in contraction-form, but believed to “sound wrong” when used individually? [duplicate]

Some popular examples: Don't you know any better? Now use that with out the contractions: Do not you know any better? Want to bet that many English speakers would find this weird or wrong ...
1
vote
1answer
92 views

Is there a RULE (not opinion) for when it's okay to replace “is” with “'s”? [closed]

I wrote a sentence in which instead of saying, "God is" I said, "God's". Someone saw this and corrected me that I have to write "God is". This made me scared that I might not be able to simply ...
4
votes
4answers
889 views

Why do not we ask negative questions without a contraction on the not after the verb?

I have found multiple questions touching on this but not a single one that has a comprehensive answer. The information is all there but in little bits. "Do you not" vs. "Don't ...
1
vote
0answers
62 views

Using “it's” instead of “it is” [duplicate]

I like the way contractions operate and I know the difference between "it's" and "its" based on contraction and possession. That is, "it's = it is" and "its" is possessive. However, there are some ...
2
votes
2answers
70 views

Contractions of “have” in the sense of “to possess”

I see this usage frequently on various SE sites: I've an [object] This usage of "I've" seems very strange [edit: archaic or poetic] to me as a native speaker of US English. I'm accustomed to ...
51
votes
10answers
7k views

Grammatically correct sentence where “you're” and “your” can be interchanged? [closed]

Most grammar checkers are capable of detecting the the misuse of "your" and "you're"; providing the necessary correction. I'm curious though, is there any sentence that can be constructed where ...
2
votes
3answers
1k views

What’s the word for the habit of writing “play’d” or “revolv’d”?

I’m working on an 18th-century manuscript, and I’m trying to explain to others the use of ’d in past tense verbs. Is there a word that encompasses the usage of ’d in early 18th-century manuscripts? ...
17
votes
2answers
288 views

Space before apostrophe

In the 1928 Scribner’s (NY) edition of The Plays of J. M. Barrie, I’ve noticed an odd convention: where a contraction happens in middle of a word (e.g., “don’t” for “do n(o)t”), the apostrophe has the ...
4
votes
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?
1
vote
2answers
92 views

Can “very” (and its synonyms") mean less intense? [closed]

I recently found something mildly intriguing. Very should mean more than the following adjective. This room is dark Means that it is casually dark if you will. While This room is very dark ...
4
votes
4answers
1k views

What does “on’ry” mean in “I Wonder As I Wander”?

During a running debate or whether I Wonder as I Wander qualifies as a Christmas Carol, I looked up the lyrics. The first verse: I wonder as I wander out under the sky How Jesus the Saviour ...
2
votes
1answer
132 views

’Tis the season

Google has a new doodle that says ’Tis the season when you put your cursor on it: What is the origin of this usage? or even the contraction ’tis? Details: There is a popular carol called “Deck ...
0
votes
2answers
28k views

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

Is it alright to use the same contraction, "He's", to mean both "He is" and "He has"? Examples: "He's angry." "He's been angry." "He's a beautiful house."
1
vote
1answer
750 views

Why does the word “never” not contain an apostrophe?

If never is a contraction of 'not ever' why does it not have an apostrophe, i.e. why is it not written n'ever rather than never? I can understand that the apostrophe has simply fallen out of use, but ...
11
votes
3answers
505 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 ...
60
votes
12answers
29k views

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?
11
votes
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 ...
32
votes
6answers
35k 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
274 views

Using a name as a contraction with “is”, syntax looks possessive?

"Bob is fat" Would it be proper to do "Bob's fat"? To me, this looks possessive, as if we're talking about his fat rather than using "fat" as an adjective. What's the proper way to do this?