Possibly this question is a duplicate; please direct me to the appropriate question if this is the case.

The word it's is a contraction of it is. Is it ever acceptable to use an apostrophe as a contraction for general pairs of words of the form

[noun] is

for nouns other than it? More specifically, is it acceptable to write

My father's angry with me

instead of My father is angry with me? The sentence above seems (?) acceptable in spoken English, but I'm not sure about written English.

closed as off-topic by Drew, choster, Chenmunka, tchrist, Misti Aug 19 '15 at 9:25

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  • Good question. But note that "it" is a pronoun, not a noun. – Brian Hitchcock Aug 17 '15 at 5:04

This contraction is acceptable in just about every register of spoken English. But "written" English covers a lot of different styles: everything from emails and chatty gossip about the Khardashians to formal essays on Thomist philosophy. The stuffiest sort of academic writing—the sciences, and disciplines which desperately want to appear scientific—don't like contractions at all; the humanities tend to be more relaxed.

Your best bet is imitation: find good examples of the sort of thing you want to write, and write the way they're written.


Not only in spoken, but in most registers of written English, almost any noun can form a contraction with is and sound natural.

  • India's on the move.
  • Frank's always cracking jokes.
  • It's hard to tell what The Fed's up to lately.
  • Hey, your back window's open!
  • History's still being written.
  • Obama's taking a lot of flak for what he said yesterday.
  • The game's not over till the fat lady sings.
  • Shakespeare's not the only one who used that phrasing.
  • He's not heavy; he's my brother.
  • My brother's not heavy, but my sister is.

And lastly but worstly...

  • The Queen's English—is she not?
  • There's also "My father's got a new car" (has got) – Mari-Lou A Aug 17 '15 at 6:46

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