contractions in english

Contractions are very common in colloquial English. They are formed by combining two words, using an apostrophe () to join them. The apostrophe replaces any missing letters. For instance, I am becomes I’m. Contractions are essential if you want to sound fluent in spoken English, or in writing dialogue. They are not usually used for formal writing, but are common in writing online. Below is an alphabetical list of the contractions in English, followed by exercises to practice:

Exercise 1

Exercise 2

Alphabetical list of contractions

  • are not = aren’t
  • cannot = can’t
  • could not =couldn’t
  • did not = didn’t
  • do not = don’t
  • does not = doesn’t
  • had not = hadn’t
  • have not = haven’t
  • he is  = he’s
  • he has = he’s
  • he will = he’ll
  • he would = he’d
  • he had = he’d
  • here is = here’s
  • I am = I’m
  • I have = I’ve
  • I will = I’ll
  • I would = I’d
  • I had = I’d
  • is not = isn’t
  • it is = it’s
  • it has = it’s
  • it will = it’ll
  • must not = mustn’t
  • she is = she’s
  • she has = she’s
  • she will = she’ll
  • she would = she’d
  • she had = she’d
  • should not = shouldn’t
  • that is = that’s
  • there is = there’s
  • they are = they’re
  • they have = they’ve
  • they will = they’ll
  • they would = they’d
  • they had = they’d
  • was not = wasn’t
  • we are = we’re
  • we have = we’ve
  • we will = we’ll
  • we would  = we’d
  • we had = we’d
  • were not = weren’t
  • what is = what’s
  • where is = where’s
  • who is = who’s
  • who will = who’ll
  • *will not = won’t (irregular)
  • would not = wouldn’t
  • you are = you’re
  • you have = you’ve
  • you will = you’ll
  • you would = you’d
  • you had = you’d

Contractions Exercise 1

 

Form common tractions to make these sentences seem more natural. Answers below.

  1. She is my sister. She’s my sister.
  2. He is fifteen years old.
  3. That is an extra slice of pizza.
  4. Is not this a friendly dog?
  5. Do not knock the glass over!
  6. Jenny cannot drive yet.
  7. It did not rain last night.
  8. I will go with you to the park.
  9. He will like this present.
  10. She will need a winter coat.
  11. We will keep you company.
  12. You will enjoy the book.
  13. I am very happy.

Answers: 1. She’s; 2. He’s; 3. That’s; 4. isn’t; 5. Don’t; 6. can’t; 7. didn’t; 8. I’ll; 9. He’ll; 10. She’ll; 11. We’ll; 12. You’ll; 13. I’m.

Contractions Exercise 2

 


What do the contractions in these sentences stand for? Answers below.

  1. I don’t understand what you mean.
  2. She’ll come over tomorrow.
  3. I could’ve gone to the football game.
  4. You shouldn’t talk with your mouth full.
  5. I won’t be home until Thursday.
  6. She’s gone to the bank already.
  7. They weren’t in the kitchen.
  8. Billy wasn’t eating any of the cake.
  9. I’ve already cleaned the dishes.
  10. We’d better not make too much noise.
  11. It’s been a gloomy day.
  12. It’ll be a sunny day tomorrow.

Answers: 1. do not; 2. She will; 3. could have; 4. should not; 5. will not; 6. She is; 7. were not; 8. was not; 9. I have; 10. We had; 11. It has; 12. It will.

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