Define Contractions in Grammar: Examples & Overview

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  • 0:00 What Are Contractions?
  • 0:23 Examples Of Contractions
  • 2:35 Mistakes With Contractions
  • 3:15 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Mary Firestone
Find out about contractions and how to use them correctly in your writing. Read the lesson to see how contractions are created, and look at some examples of contractions in action.

What Are Contractions

Whether you know it or not, you're probably familiar with contractions - shortened versions of two-word and three-word phrases. In fact, a word you just heard, 'you're' is a contraction. These words are a significant part of English grammar, and they can eliminate choppiness in your writing, as well as help create an informal tone in your writing.

Examples of Contractions

Contractions are created by removing letters and inserting an apostrophe. Below are some everyday examples of contractions.

The word 'not' is often contracted by inserting 'n't' at the end of the word it follows:

  • 'Do not' becomes 'don't,' as in I don't want that.
  • 'Will not' becomes 'won't,' as in I won't go.
  • 'Is not' becomes 'isn't,' as in John isn't here.
  • 'Does not' becomes 'doesn't,' as in That doesn't look like John.

A contraction can be formed by reducing the word 'us,' as shown here:

  • 'Let us' becomes 'let's,' as in Let's go outside!

Another group of common contractions are created with 'be' verbs, such as 'are', 'am' and 'is':

  • 'We are' becomes 'we're,' as in We're ready now.
  • 'They are' becomes 'they're,' as in They're coming with us.
  • 'You are' becomes 'you're,' as in You're coming along.
  • 'I am' becomes 'I'm,' as in I'm leaving the car here.
  • 'It is' becomes 'it's,' as in It's your turn.
  • 'How is' becomes 'how's,' as in How's the job going?
  • 'That is' becomes 'that's,' as in That's what I mean!
  • 'What is' becomes 'what's,' as in What's his name?

Contractions can be formed with the word 'have' or 'has,' as shown here:

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