Instead of “I would have done something”, are both of these versions ok?

  1. I would’ve done something.

  2. I’d have done something.

  • 2
    You can also do I'd've – guifa Sep 22 '14 at 17:08
  • 1
    Pretty much all the contractions of I would have are pronounced /'aydə/, same as Ida. Likewise /'yudə, 'hidə, 'ʃidə, 'widə, 'ðedə/. It would have comes out /'ɪtədə/, with both /t/ and /d/ reducible to a tap [ɾ] at will. You can see why English has difficulty with spelling contractions -- the orthography just doesn't have the resources necessary. – John Lawler Sep 22 '14 at 17:30
  • @JohnLawler interesting, I definitely have a /v/ with the double contraction unless I'm in my most informal register and even then saying it feels more like I'm making fun of pronunciations and doesn't come off that naturally. It's almost a syllabic /v/ but I definitely transfer the /d/ to the syllable, but I don't have a (to me anyways) perceptible vowel. – guifa Sep 22 '14 at 20:38
  • The point is that there are thousands of ways to modify the phonemes involved under fast speech rules, so worrying about one of two or three spelling conventions -- none of which cover everything -- is not worth the effort. If you don't want to worry about it, write it any way you want. – John Lawler Sep 22 '14 at 20:41

Grammatically speaking, all the three constructs are correct. The non-contracted first one is more formal. The choice between the other two can be made only by euphonic considerations, i.e. whichever sounds nicer or is easier to pronounce given the surrounding words.

The very colloquial I'd've is not unheard of either.

  • 1
    First, I don’t know that I would call this a matter of being “grammatically speaking”; spelling is not part of grammar. In any event, I’d’ve is pretty much the most that anybody ever actually says without having their feet held to the fire, and as John Lawler observes, it quite often rhymes with Lida from the song Lida Rose. So it isn’t in any way “very colloquial” for someone to say I’d’ve; rather, it is perfectly normal, common, accepted, and nearly expected. What is not so expected is the orthography. But that changes nothing about what people actually say. – tchrist Sep 23 '14 at 1:10
  • @tchrist In Australia I'd've is unheard of except in British television. I've never heard an Australian native English speaker use both contractions at the same time. We almost always say I would've. That being said, I'd have is also incredibly uncommon, as it naturally tends to become I'd've; it's hard to clearly separate I'd from have unless have is stressed. "I'd have to say that, wouldn't I?" However, in my example I don't believe have can be contracted. – CJ Dennis Dec 6 '14 at 2:15

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