Contractions

 Contractions are often used in written and spoken English to shorten and ‘join’ the subject and verb or auxiliary and verb in a sentence. In spoken English they are constantly present so as an English learner you definitely need to get your ear around them!

Question

This is a question from Vivien Hammel, an English4Today member:

‘What is the proper term for words which are joined by an apostrophe? This is something that bothers me. Yet one sees so much more (in business) than I recall at a school.
For example: you’ll
Thank you for your time and consideration of my question.’

Answer

Vivien, the proper term for this is a ‘contraction‘. We use it more and more, as you have noticed, in written English and use it all the time in spoken English.

Some common contractions are:

      • I’m for I am
      • You’ll / he’ll / she’ll for you will, he will, she will
      • They’re / we’re / for they are / we are
      • Don’t for do not
      • Won’t for will not
      • Can’t for can not
      • Aren’t for are not

Although contractions such as would’ve for would have and should’ve for should have are common in spoken English they still don’t enter into written English very often but with our ‘need for speed’ it probably won’t be long before they do!

Anthony Hughes
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