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Were contractions used in conversational English in 1800 to 1820? For example: it's, don't, aren't,...

  • Spoken English has always used contractions. Always. In every era. – tchrist May 7 at 20:10
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    'Tis true. Contractions have e'er been present. – TaliesinMerlin May 7 at 22:31
  • This question is trivially answered by using the ngram viewer. – Lofty Withers May 8 at 5:10
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The OED quotes " All want to go to town..—four horses, three mules, and a jack ass—can't carry 'em all." from 1811.

Contractions like "can't" were not often written in those days, so it seems likely that "can't" had been around for quite a few years before that.

Edit: I should have looked further down the page. The OED also quotes " What can I have done with my Papers?..Highty-tighty! I can't have left 'em at home." from 1781.

So certainly, "can't" (at least) was in use by 1800, and probably rather earlier.

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