By definition, a contraction is an abbreviated version of a word or words.
Examples of Contractions
In English, there are two main types of contractions:
(1) Contractions that replace the missing letter(s) with an apostrophe (').
These contractions are formed by shortening a word or combining two words into one.
Examples of these contractions:
- I am - I'm
- do not - don't
- can not - can't
- should not - shouldn't
- he is - he's
- he has - he's
These kinds of contractions are also grouped into:
(i) Positive Contractions. For example: I'm, He's, we've.
(ii) Negative Contractions: For example: Doesn't, isn't, aren't, haven't.
(2) Contractions that are formed by compressing or cutting off a word.
These contractions do not use apostrophes. Most of these contractions end with a full stop.
Examples of these contractions:
- Doctor - Dr.
- Mister - Mr.
- Mistress - Mrs.
- Professor - Prof.
- Reverend - Rev.
LIST OF COMMON CONTRACTIONS IN ENGLISH
Here is a list of common contractions in English:
Contraction Full Version of Word
- aren't - are not
- can't - cannot
- couldn't - could not
- didn't - did not
- doesn't - does not
- don't - do not
- hadn't - had not
- hasn't - has not
- haven't - have not
- he'd - he had, he would
- he'll - he will, he shall
- he's - he is, he has
- I'd - I had, I would
- I'll - I will, I shall
- I'm - I am
- I've - I have
- isn't - is not
- it's - it is, it has
- let's - let us
- mustn't - must not
- shan't - shall not
- she'd - she had, she would
- she'll - she will, she shall
- she's - she is, she has
- shouldn't - should not
- that's - that is, that has
- there's - there is, there has
- they'd - they had, they would
- they'll - they will, they shall
- they're - they are
- they've - they have
- we'd - we had, we would
- we're - we are
- we've - we have
- weren't - were not
- what'll - what will, what shall
- what're - what are
- what's - what is, what has
- what've - what have
- where's - where is, where has
- who'd - who had, who would
- who'll - who will, who shall
- who're - who are
- who's - who is, who has
- who've - who have
- won't - will not
- wouldn't - would not
- you'd - you had, you would
- you'll - you will, you shall
- you're - you are
- you've - you have
THINGS TO CARE ABOUT CONTRACTIONS
There are seven (7) common issues about contractions.
(1) Use a period if the last letter of the contraction and the full word are different. For example: Prof and Professor do not share the same letters, so we put the period at the end of 'Prof.'
(2) Do not use a period if the last letter of the contraction and the full word share the same letter. For example: Dr and doctor share the same last letters. Therefore, this contraction doea not require a period.
(3) In the UK, truncated contractions (For example: "Prof.") attract periods, but the compressed ones (e.g. "Mr") do not.). So, in UK, only the truncated versions are written with a period.
(4) Using contractions in business writing.
Many people still consider contractions to be informal and inappropriate for business writing. Therefore, contractions are best avoided in business documentation, especially if you're writing about something serious and you're unsure of your readership.
(5) Pick a convention for putting periods (full stops) after contractions like Dr/Dr. and Mr/Mr. and stick to it.
(6) If you think you can get away with using contractions in business writing, do it.
(7) Confusing contractions with other words.
The following contractions are often confused with other words:
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