Possible Duplicates:
Is “I'd've” proper use of the English Language?
Can a word be contracted twice (e.g. “I'ven't”)?

I think the contraction "we'd've" for "we would have" is disallowed, but it doesn't seem technically incorrect. It seems to work well with common phrases like "we'd've gotten killed out there".

Of course, it's common in spoken English, but single contractions are quite common in written English, so I can't really see any reason that doubles shouldn't be allowed.

Is there a non-historical reason that it's invalid now, other than that it's not in any dictionary? Could it possibly become valid over the course of time?

  • 1
    See: [english.stackexchange.com/questions/689/…
    – simchona
    Aug 3, 2011 at 21:00
  • 2
    See also [english.stackexchange.com/questions/50/….
    – PLL
    Aug 3, 2011 at 21:03
  • @simchona Ah sorry, I missed that. Should I delete this question? Aug 3, 2011 at 21:07
  • @Rei Do the answers on the questions we linked answer your question? If not, you can edit your question to specify what further information you'd like. If they do, you can delete your question.
    – simchona
    Aug 3, 2011 at 21:08
  • 1
    By all means, you can edit your own question. However, you need to make sure to specify that this isn't a duplicate of the earlier questions. And your question does seem very broad--you're asking for people to weigh in on whether something could happen. Why don't you come to the chat? That way you could get the full discussion you want.
    – simchona
    Aug 3, 2011 at 21:14

2 Answers 2


Multiple "apologetic apostrophes" (those indicating missing letters, such as in contractions) have never technically been disallowed AFAIK. It's rare, and thus discouraged in modern English, but in Scots, where we get the apostrophe in the first place, multiple apostrophes do occur. For instance, "ne’er’s day" is a contraction in the Scots dialect for "New Year's Day".

Much like the apostrophe was invented mainly to write in the same way people spoke, contractions like "I'd've" are perfectly normal in speech, so why shouldn't they be used in writing?

  • Plenty of apostrophes here: fo'c's'le. Well, in fact I'm more used to fo'c'sle but wiki listed both.
    – z7sg Ѫ
    Aug 3, 2011 at 23:01

It's informal, and not usually written, but spoken. Double contractions were never valid, so it didn't become invalid for some reason.

It could of course, become valid over the course of time. Anything could, even double negatives.

But at the moment, they seemed to be discouraged, as well as not being in popular usage.

  • I agree with this, except for the part about it not being in popular usage. Southern dialects use this form very often.
    – Mark T
    Aug 3, 2011 at 21:19
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    Double negatives are logically incorrect at worst and redundant at best, though. I can't imagine them ever becoming valid in any language. I'm curious as to whether or not there might be some similarly prohibitive reason that double contractions are incorrect. Aug 3, 2011 at 21:20
  • I disagree with almost the whole post. Double contractions were valid in the Scots dialect of English, from whence we get the apologetic apostrophe in the first place. And a contraction doesn't have the logical contradiction of a double negative; it's just more missing letters, not a statement that means the opposite of what was meant.
    – KeithS
    Aug 9, 2011 at 22:05
  • Double negatives are required in some languages, such as French ne ... pas. And they're also used in some English dialects, as in ain't got no to mean haven't got any.
    – Barmar
    Jul 5, 2014 at 6:57

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