Ok, Here is the tricky ones.

Googling "The concert's sold out" returns no result, whereas googling "The concert was sold out" returns a lot of result.

Also, I don't see anyone say "the tickets're sold out" but most people say "the tickets were sold out", so "were" in this case can not be contracted.

Also, "Bob is a dog" could become "Bob's a dog" but then people may confused because it could mean "Bob has a dog".

What are the contraction rules for noun such as Bob, tickets, concert, etc?

  • Understand that Google expands many contractions when it stores the scanned web pages in indexable form.
    – Hot Licks
    Apr 10, 2016 at 1:32
  • "Bob's a dog" would not be interpreted as "Bob has a dog" by the standard rules of contractions (such as they are). The written 's contraction is mostly reserved for "is", not "was" or "has".
    – Hot Licks
    Apr 10, 2016 at 1:35
  • 2
    There is absolutely nothing wrong with "the concert's sold out". Apr 10, 2016 at 3:06
  • 1
    @PeterShor You might say that, but would you write it in that way? In written form I doubt I would contract any of these, unless they were possessives, or I was reproducing someone's speech between quotation marks. I'm not saying they are wrong, just that personally, I wouldn't be inclined to write them. An exception would be it's.
    – WS2
    Apr 10, 2016 at 8:46
  • 1
    To avoid any further cornfuzion I'm changing my username. Doesn't match what I use on other SE sites anyway
    – TomMcW
    Apr 10, 2016 at 11:43

2 Answers 2


It seems that the OP believes that

The concert's sold out

is the contracted form of The concert was sold out. It is not. It is the contracted form of the present perfect construction: Noun + has sold out or Noun + is sold out:

Google does indeed have results for “concert's sold out”

  1. Our concert's sold out but we're open late till 9pm that night with the @craftyfoxmarket plus workshops, DJs and bar!
  2. Our concert's sold out today at 2pm in the town hall
  3. I glanced around the deserted 'Park' and added, “Looks like this concert's sold out, and its Standing Room Only.”
  4. Hey, do you know if that concert's sold out?
  5. “Sorry, the concert's sold out. Maybe you can get tickets for a later performance.”

Other examples of present perfect contracted form:

  1. I've just bought a new car (I have just bought...)
  2. He applied to XYZ university and he's got the letter of confirmation that he's been accepted. (... he has got ... he has been ...)

The next example

Bob's a dog

Is the contracted form of Bob is a dog, a native speaker will not think that it means Bog has a dog, unless context tells us otherwise. In speech a person might get away with this:

My children keep all sorts of pets: Carol's a parrot, Anne's a rabbit, Tim's a frog, and Bob's a dog.

But as soon as you read that sentence, it looks weird: Carol is a parrot, and Anne is a rabbit. British English native speakers will most likely add got to reinforce the idea of possession, as in:

Bob's got a dog.”

  • 1
    I read that sentence as a shortened form of "Carol's [pet is] a parrot; Anne's [pet is] a rabbit, ..." Apr 10, 2016 at 10:22
  • @PeterShor I think in speech that construction works, less so in writing, it is open to misinterpretation. But you're absolutely right, it is an ellipses.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Apr 10, 2016 at 10:24
  • in the dictionary, to sell out = to be sold out oxfordlearnersdictionaries.com/definition/english/…
    – Tom
    Apr 10, 2016 at 10:51
  • also, why didn't you mention "the tickets're sold out"? It sounds weird
    – Tom
    Apr 10, 2016 at 10:53
  • @Tom It took me long enough to organise and find support for this answer! I see you haven't asked tchrist anything though. "The tickets are sold out", and "The tickets were sold out" should be written in full, but in speech: "The tickets've sold out" is quite common.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Apr 10, 2016 at 11:24

You cannot contract has when it is itself the main verb, only when it is an auxiliary to the main verb.

Worry about contraction rules for verbs not nouns. Only verbs are getting contracted here. Nouns don't matter.


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