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Contractions

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  Angbeen Chaudhary  —  Grammar Tips
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How’s your foot now?

Haven’t you heard the news?

We shouldn’t stay here.

We all have come across words like these where some of the letters in the word are omitted making the word shorter. These types of words are known as contractions in English grammar. Today we will discuss these types of words in detail and what the correct way of using them in sentences is.

Contractions

The words in English language which have been shortened by omitting a few letters in them and which are replaced by an apostrophe are known as contractions. Contractions are used in written as well as spoken English language. When the word limit is limited in some written platforms, contractions come in handy as two words can be merged together as one in a contraction. One thing to know is that contractions are not used in formal English writing which is used for professional purposes.

Example:

Percy hasn’t eaten a thing for two days.

In the above example, has and not are two words that are merged as one by omitting the o in not and using an apostrophe instead. Hasn’t is a contraction in the above example.

Contractions can be used to determine tone of writing. For example, in informal conversations and writings, the use of contractions depicts colloquial nature of the text whereas the absence of contractions in writing shows that the audience is more formal and official.

Example:

Sara hasn’t arrived for work today. (Informal)

Sara is late for work today. (Formal)

The use of contractions in sentences also leads to the usage of apostrophes. An apostrophe is a hanging comma that is used to connect words or show possession. In the case of contractions, when two words are joined together to make one word, an apostrophe is used.

Most of the time, apostrophe is used at the place where one or two letters of each word is omitted, thus it marks the spot where the word is shortened from. Examples include doesn’t/hasn’t/didn’t/there’s/it’setc.

Notice that this does not mean that the apostrophe is placed where the two words are joined from because that is not always the case.

Apart from that, multiple contractions may be used in a single sentence. Or the contractions may comprise of more than two words.

Example:

wouldn’t’ve gone fishing if Sam hadn’t told me there was good fish in the lake.

Wouldn’t’ve is the contraction of would not have in the above example.

 

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