Sometimes she’s means she has but sometimes it means she is. How can I find the difference between these two identical sentences so that I can understand which of the two possible contractions was meant?

  1. She’s worked. (=she is worked) [past continuous]

  2. She’s worked. (=she has worked) [present perfect]

closed as too broad by Mari-Lou A, choster, Scott, jimm101, Skooba Oct 16 '17 at 12:29

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  • Use of contracted pronouns like this for past continuous isn't as common for a start, but you can usually tell which is meant from the context of the rest of the paragraph. – John Clifford Jul 28 '17 at 12:42
  • @John Clifford so , what i understood is that , people don't use «'s» for contracting the past continuous tense . yes ? – Masoud B Jul 28 '17 at 12:50
  • For this example it depends largely on what exactly you mean with "worked"; do you mean she's doing work of her own volition or that another entity is making her work? – John Clifford Jul 28 '17 at 12:55
  • @John Clifford , she's doing work of her own volition. – Masoud B Jul 28 '17 at 13:03
  • 1
    Masoud, could you post some complete examples, instead of those partial quotes? If you're talking about reading what someone else wrote, it should always be at least fairly clear from the context, unless the speaker expressed it badly. If you're talking about something you plan to write, work without contractions until you're certain what you're saying… – Robbie Goodwin Jul 30 '17 at 23:14

She is worked is very rare and idiomatic. It only applies in the context that someone is working to much. As in 'She is being worked to death'. In this context it is always used with the verb 'to be'

  • I disagree slightly with this answer. I agree that "she's worked" in the sense of "she is worked" is very rare. I agree, moreover, that it would usually be used to imply that "she" is being forced to work too hard. I disagree that it could be used only to imply excessive work. Context might permit an alternative implication. The problem here is that the examples are so truncated that they would almost never be used by a native speaker except in a context that made the intended meaning quite clear. – Jeff Morrow Oct 15 '17 at 9:29

As far as I know, she is worked is not past continuous. She was working is past continuous. Therefore "worked" here is an adjective, not a verb.


As one answer pointed out, the question is premised on a misconception. And, as at least one comment has pointed out, the examples are so brief as to leave uncertain the meaning intended to be conveyed.

Let's start with the misconception. "She's worked" in the sense of "she is worked" is not in the past continuous, which requires the present participle rather than the past participle. It is in the simple present, passive voice. Although grammatical, the contraction would rarely be used without context making clear that "is" rather than "has" is the modal verb being reduced because "work" is not frequently used as a transitive verb. "She's worked lightly" or "she's worked as hard as a rented mule" would be more typical usages because those locutions make clear that a passive, transitive use is intended: she is the object of another's action.

"She's worked" in the sense of "she has worked" is also grammatical while being unlikely except in a context where the use of the present perfect makes sense.

A native speaker would tend to avoid the contraction in these examples unless the context clarified whether what was intended was the present tense with passive voice or else the present perfect tense with active voice.

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