Contractions: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Shelly Merrell

Shelly has a Master's of Education. Most recent professional experience is an educational diagnostician. Prior, she taught for 8 years.

Can't, she'll, we've and they're are all words that have something in common. They are contraction words! In today's lesson we will learn about contractions and work with a few examples.

What Is a Contraction?

Imagine blowing up a balloon and watching it expand. It gets bigger and bigger... Now if we let the air out, it shrinks, or contracts. To contract means to get smaller.

In writing, you can use a contraction to combine two words together and make a shorter word. In other words, the contraction shrinks the two words. So a contraction is just a word that is a shortened form of two words put together.

For example, when the words can and not are put together, the contraction word can't is formed. The apostrophe (') is the small punctuation mark that takes the place of the letters we've removed. In the case of can't, the apostrophe replaces the n and the o of not.

How do Contractions Work?

To make a contraction word, we put two words together and shorten them using an apostrophe where the letters have been omitted, or taken out.

-Can + not = can't

Remember, when we added the apostrophe it took the place the letters n and o of the word not.

Contractions With the Word Not

-Do + not = don't

When do and not are put together, they make the contraction don't. We took the two words, took out a letter (the o), put in the apostrophe, and then made the shorter word. The contraction word 'don't' was formed.

-Have + not = haven't

In this example, the words have and not were combined. The apostrophe took the place of the letter o and the word 'haven't' was formed.


Let's think about which two words were put together to form this contraction word: are + not.


What about this contraction word? Which two words were shortened? Would + not.

These are other common not contractions: aren't, couldn't, didn't, doesn't, hasn't, isn't, shouldn't, wasn't, and weren't.

Contraction Words With the Word Will

The English language always has special rules for some words; these words are known as irregular words. When the words 'will'+ 'not' are contracted, they do not form the word 'willn't'. That sounds odd, doesn't it? That's because will + not = won't. We use the word 'won't' often in speaking and writing.

-I + will = I'll

The apostrophe took the place of the w and i in this contraction.

-She + will = she'll

Again, the apostrophe took the place of the w and i.

Try this: we + will = we'll and they + will = they'll

Here are some other common 'will' contractions: you'll, he'll, it'll, that'll , and who'll.

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