Contractions (Short Form)
A contraction is two words joined together to make the short form.
We use an apostrophe to show the missing letters.
We can only make contactions with certain words. There are three common types:
- Subject + auxiliary verb;
- Negative sentences with ’not';
- Questions words with ‘is’.
Subject + auxiliary verb
We often use the short form when we have a subject pronoun followed by ‘be’ or ‘have’.
Subject pronouns are the words ‘I’, ‘we’, ‘you’, ’they’, ‘he’, ‘she’, ‘it’.
You can’t use a contraction if ‘have’ is the main verb in the sentence.
You can also use the short form when you have a noun followed by ‘is’.
Negative sentences (not)
We use contractions a lot in negative sentences.
We use the short form when we have an auxiliary verb or a modal followed by ’not’.
Question word + is
We use the short form when we have a question word follwed by ‘is’.
The modal ‘will’ is special. We can use it in the short form with a subject pronoun and with questions words.
When do we use contractions?
We use contractions in speech. Learning to use contractions will make your spoken English sound more natural.
You can use contractions in informal writing. If you are not sure, use the long form.
You can find all of the short forms in the contractions tables: