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Wednesday, 23 October 2013

English Contractions



Contractions

Contractions are very common in spoken English. They are not so common in written English. We may use contractions in a friendly letter, for example, but they are not usually correct in more formal texts such as business letters or essays. If you have to write an essay in an exam, do not use contractions. The only exception to this would be when you quote somebody within your essay, for example spoken dialogue.

1. Positive Contractions                       2. Negative Contractions                     3. Informal Contractions

We often "contract" or shorten words in English. For example, we may say "he's" instead of "he is". Here are some example sentences:
I'm coming. 
They haven't gone.
Who's calling?
We do this especially when we speak. We do not contract words so much when we write.
1. Positive Contractions                  

Long form
Short form
Use (student will write) [Notice the use of intonation] Dictations......
I am
I'm

I have
I've

I will/I shall
I'll
                                                                                      
I would/I should/I had
I'd

you are
you're

you have
you've

you will
you'll

you had/you would
you'd

he has/he is
he's

he will
he'll

he had/he would
he'd

she has/she is
she's

she will
she'll

she had/she would
she'd

it has/it is
it's

it will
it'll

we are
we're

we have
we've

we will
we'll

we had/we would
we'd

they are
they're

they have
they've

they will
they'll

they had/they would
they'd



Notes
Be careful. Some contractions can have two or three meanings. For example, he'd can be he had or he would. It depends on the rest of the sentence. Look at these examples:
  • He'd like to go. (He would like to go.)
  • He'd finished when I arrived. (He had finished when I arrived.)
The contraction 's (= is or has) is not used only with pronouns. It can also be used with nouns, names, question words and words like "here" and "there", for example: The train's late. John's arrived. Where's the phone? Here's your change. There's a policeman.
It is possible, and common, to contract three words, for example: I'd've thought so = I would have thought so.
2. Negative Contractions                  
Long form
Short form
Use (student will write)
are not
aren't

cannot
can't

could not
couldn't

dare not
daren't

did not
didn't

does not
doesn't

do not
don't

has not
hasn't

have not
haven't

had not
hadn't

is not
isn't

may not
mayn't

might not
mightn't

must not
mustn't

need not
needn't

ought not
oughtn't

shall not
shan't

should not
shouldn't

was not
wasn't

were not
weren't

will not
won't

would not
wouldn't


3. Informal Contractions                 
Informal contractions are short forms of other words that people use when speaking casually. They are not exactly slang, but they are a little like slang.
Warning!
These informal contractions are not "correct" English. Do not use them in a written exam.
For example, GONNA is a short form of "going to". If you say "going to" very fast, without carefully pronouncing each word, it can sound like "gonna".
Please remember that these are informal contractions. That means that we do not use them in "correct" speech, and we almost never use them in writing. We normally use them only when speaking fast and casually, for example with friends. Many people never use them, even in informal speech.

·         gotta = (have) got to
I've gotta go now.
I gotta go now.
We haven't gotta do that.
Have they gotta work?
·         kinda = kind of
She's kinda cute.
·         lemme = let me
Lemme go!
·         wanna = want to
I wanna go home.
·         wanna = want a
I wanna a can.
whatcha = what are you
Whatcha going to do?
Whatcha got there?
 
Here are some of the most common informal contractions, with example sentences:
·         ain't = am not/are not/is not
I ain't sure.
You ain't my boss.
·         ain't = has not/have not
I ain't done it.
She ain't finished yet.
·         gimme = give me
Gimme your money.
Don't gimme that rubbish.
Can you gimme a hand?
·         gonna = going to
Nothing's gonna change my love for you.
I'm not gonna tell you.
What are you gonna do?

·         gotta = (have) got a
I've gotta gun.
I gotta gun.
She hasn't gotta penny.
Have you gotta car?
It is probably true to say that these informal contractions are more common in American English than in British English. Also note that the sentences above may be a little artificial because when we use a contraction, we may also use other contractions in the same sentence, or even drop some words completely. For example:
  • I am not going to tell you. I ain't gonna tell you.
or
  • Do you want a can (soft drink)? Do you wanna can?
·         D'you wanna can? D'ya wanna can? Ya wanna can? Wanna a can?

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