Contractions in English

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There are so many contractions in the English language. It is becomes it’s. You are become you’re. That’s just the surface.

How can you figure it out?

For words like its and your they have both a word and a contraction that sounds/looks like them. Its and your are possessive words. The table’s leg would be its leg. The bird’s call would be its call. You cannot say it’s leg. That becomes ‘it is leg’ which makes no sense.

That’s really the key to figuring out the basic ones. If it’s a contraction, what is it a contract of? Replace the word and see if it works.

How about when you want to create a contraction that English doesn’t recognize?

Sound it out. I piss off Word with couldn’t’ve. It is a word, but Word and Firefox refuse to believe me. Sounding it out means both reading it out loud as is and as the contraction should be. Could not have; couldn’t have; could’ve not? could have not? See which one makes the most sense? Couldn’t’ve actually exists.

I can use ‘is’ as a contraction to any noun including proper ones. Now the concern being to show possession of a noun you also add a ‘s. Such as Natalie’s chair. Natalie’s going home sounds right and would be using the contraction with ‘is’ correctly. Does Word agree? No.

That’s okay. This is a rule we can use and make up new options.

When we speak, we drop sounds often. It doesn’t matter what language or group of people you’re taking about. That’s why contractions exist.

That means any part of the sound you drop when speaking can be used as a contraction. Don’t try to force sounds to drop. Just listen to people speak. Try to speed up your sentences. What sounds get dropped from which words? It’s natural. Contractions are natural. They’re normal.

If you don’t feel comfortable with contractions, don’t use them. Don’t add them into your story or your works. It’s fine. Contractions are not there for “proper English”. They aren’t allowed. Brooke in Dragon Rider never uses contractions. To the point of Natalie gets really concerned if she does. It’s normally done because of slurred speech. Her Majesty, though, shouldn’t use contractions. She only speaks “proper English”.

If you have questions regarding contractions, ask them. Have people beta read with that idea in mind.

What’s your favorite contraction word?


(Did you play the game yet? Let’s Play a Game! Win a free ecopy.)

[Writer’s Stuff] [About Cat Hartliebe]

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