What Are Contractions in Writing?

What Are Contractions in Writing?

Contractions are a way to combine two words together to make writing shorter. They also often serve the double purpose of making the content feel more informal.

What is a contraction?

A contraction is a shortened form of two (or more) words. A contraction is most often created using an apostrophe where the two words combine, such as “can’t” when combining “can” and “not.”

Contractions are most commonly used in speech, though are also used in more informal writing. For example, you might use “can’t” in an email to a friend, but you might not use it in a business contract. You would write “cannot”.

How do you form a contraction?

Contractions are, by and large, easy to form. This is English, though, so there are also some tricky exceptions.

A simple way to remember how to form a contraction is to replace the second vowel and simplify if there are multiple of the same letter in the middle.

For example:

  • Can not = can’t
  • Do not = don’t
  • There is = there’s

What are the common examples of contractions?

There are many more examples of contractions:

  • Will not = won’t (that one’s a bit tricky. And one’s is a contraction itself!)
  • That one is = that one’s
  • He is = he’s
  • Did not = didn’t
  • That is = that’s
  • Could have = could’ve (this one is very informal)

Here are some contractions used in sentences.

Ryan could’ve put the ball in the back of the net to win the game, but he missed and therefore didn’t.

Rachael’s mom wasn’t the best cook, but she tried.

Oakleys aren’t the cheapest sunglasses, but they’re arguably the most well-made of the affordable brands.

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