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.

learn more… | top users | synonyms (1)

32
votes
6answers
13k views

Is there some rule against ending a sentence with the contraction “it's”?

I heard this lyric in a song the other day and it just sounded so wrong that I assumed it must be incorrect grammar, but I can't find any specific prohibition that applies. That's what it's. ...
24
votes
6answers
71k 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 ...
32
votes
13answers
19k 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 ...
37
votes
8answers
12k views

Is it appropriate to use short form of “have” ('ve) when it means possession?

I feel uncomfortable saying sentences like the following: "I've a car" instead of "I have a car" "They've a great time" instead of "They have a great time" "He's a pen" instead of "He has a pen" ...
15
votes
5answers
10k 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, ...
4
votes
3answers
3k 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 ...
5
votes
3answers
5k views

What does “ain't” mean?

What does the contraction ain't mean? Is it appropriate to use it in formal settings?
5
votes
2answers
1k 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?
6
votes
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 ...
10
votes
2answers
25k 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 ...
5
votes
5answers
10k 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"?
6
votes
1answer
17k 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
votes
4answers
2k 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
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.
13
votes
4answers
9k 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...
63
votes
12answers
33k 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?
25
votes
5answers
83k 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 ...
26
votes
3answers
96k 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
8answers
5k 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 ...
35
votes
6answers
38k 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
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 ...
1
vote
1answer
936 views

Is it better to write without contractions? E.g. “cannot” instead of “can't” [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Using contracted forms (“don't”, “let's”) in a formal text Usage of contractions like “it's” and “that's” in textbooks Should contractions ...
19
votes
5answers
789 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 ...
12
votes
1answer
61k 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?
12
votes
3answers
15k 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
votes
6answers
9k 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
2k 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 ...
4
votes
4answers
1k 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 ...
9
votes
2answers
535 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: ...
7
votes
1answer
10k 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.
0
votes
2answers
32k 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."
20
votes
4answers
15k 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 ...
5
votes
5answers
7k 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 ...
10
votes
3answers
12k views

Is “what’s” a correct short form of “what does”?

E.g. “What’s he think?” Usually ’s is short for “is” so I don’t know.
3
votes
2answers
456 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?
35
votes
5answers
15k 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 ...
10
votes
5answers
614 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?
16
votes
3answers
2k views

Can the “don't” contraction be expanded when used as a command?

I refer to the usage of "don't" as an imperative to tell someone what not to do. As in, Hey! Don't you dare touch that button! When it is used in the interrogative or as part of a statement, ...
8
votes
3answers
7k 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
1k views

“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. ...
15
votes
2answers
4k 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 ...
9
votes
2answers
5k views

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 ...
6
votes
3answers
11k 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 ...
5
votes
3answers
18k 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 ...
3
votes
4answers
14k views

Is “aren't I” correct grammar?

Since "amn't I" is so clunky, is "aren't I" grammatically correct? Or is the only way to say this "Am I not"?
0
votes
1answer
399 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.
7
votes
3answers
7k 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?
7
votes
1answer
2k views

Why would you write “ain't”? Isn't it a contraction only used in spoken English?

I often hear in English conversation or movies the contraction "ain't" (for "isn't"), but I am more surprised to see it in writing (and I am not referring to a novel, where I can understand its usage: ...
5
votes
5answers
12k 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 ...
4
votes
3answers
2k views

Can I use the “ll” contraction with proper names?

Can I contract "will" as "ll" when preceded by a proper name? For example: John will visit you tomorrow John'll visit you tomorrow I am inclined to think this is not acceptable in standard ...