13/07/2020

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What is a Contraction in Writing? (Includes 129 Examples)

by Bennett R. Coles

Contractions

A contraction is a literary device used to make your writing less formal and more conversational. Since contractions approximate the “sounds” of spoken words used in informal conversation, they’re interpreted in your reader’s minds as written language that’s more relaxed and easier to digest.

Language that’s formal or hard to process, such as that used in legal documents, almost never makes use of contractions, which is one of the reasons legalese can be so boring to read and process.

As a writer, particularly a nonfiction writer geared to a consumer audience, the use of contractions is a great technique to put your readers at ease by lowering potential barriers of communication, as if you were signaling through your writing that you’re a “friendly” person.

In technical terms, a contraction is a way to eliminate certain letters from words (or certain words from phrases), replacing them with an apostrophe to provide your reader with a visual cue of the omission — there are some exceptions where even the apostrophe itself is omitted!

In order to provide you with more tools for your author’s tool chest, I’ve compiled below a large list of contractions so that you don’t have to scour the Internet for useful examples. Hopefully you’ll find this collection to be a handy reference for your writing.

Here are 129 examples of contractions you can use, divided into the following 9 groups:

1-Contraction of Pronouns, 2-Contraction of Negatives, 3-Contraction of Verbs, 4-Contraction by Omission, 5-Contraction of Years, 6-Miscellaneous Contractions, 7-Single-Word Contractions, 8-Informal Contractions, 9-Contractions of Proper Nouns

1-Contraction of Pronouns:

Pronoun Contracted Uncontracted
I
I
I
I
I
You
You
You
You
You
He
He
He
He
He
She
She
She
She
She
It
It
It
It
It
We
We
We
We
We
They
They
They
They
They
How
How
How
How
How
That
That
That
That
That
What
What
What
What
What
When
When
When
When
When
Where
Where
Where
Where
Where
Who
Who
Who
Who
Who
Why
Why
Why
Why
Why
I’m
I’ll
I’d
I’ve
I’d
You’re
You’ll
You’d
You’ve
You’d
He’s
He’ll
He’d
He’s
He’d
She’s
She’ll
She’d
She’s
She’d
It’s
It’ll
It’d
It’s
It’d
We’re
We’ll
We’d
We’ve
We’d
They’re
They’ll
They’d
They’ve
They’d
How’s
How’ll
How’d
How’s
How’d
That’s
That’ll
That’d
That’s
That’d
What’s
What’ll
What’d
What’s
What’d
When’s
When’ll
When’d
When’s
When’d
Where’s
Where’ll
Where’d
Where’s
Where’d
Who’s
Who’ll
Who’d
Who’s
Who’d
Why’s
Why’ll
Why’d
Why’s
Why’d
I am
I will
I would
I have
I had
You are
You will
You would
You have
You had
He is
He will
He would
He has
He had
She is
She will
She would
She has
She had
It is
It will
It would
It has
It had
We are
We will
We would
We have
We had
They are
They will
They would
They have
They had
How is
How will
How would
How has
How had
That is
That will
That would
That has
That had
What is
What will
What would
What has
What had
When is
When will
When would
When has
When had
Where is
Where will
Where would
Where has
Where had
Who is
Who will
Who would
Who has
Who had
Why is
Why will
Why would
Why has
Why had

2-Contraction of Negatives:

Verb Contracted Uncontracted
Is
Are
Was
Were
Have
Has
Had
Will
Would
Do
Does
Did
Can
Could
Should
Might
Must
Isn’t
Aren’t
Wasn’t
Weren’t
Haven’t
Hasn’t
Hadn’t
Won’t
Wouldn’t
Don’t
Doesn’t
Didn’t
Can’t
Couldn’t
Shouldn’t
Mightn’t
Mustn’t
Is not
Are not
Was not
Were not
Have not
Has not
Had not
Will not
Would not
Do not
Does not
Did not
Can not
Could not
Should not
Might not
Must not

3-Contraction of Verbs:

Verb Contracted Uncontracted
Could
Might
Must
Should
Would
Could’ve
Might’ve
Must’ve
Should’ve
Would’ve
Could have
Might have
Must have
Should have
Would have

4-Contraction by Omission:

Contracted Uncontracted
E’er
‘Cause
Ma’am
Jack o’lantern
O’clock
Ne’er
O’er
Run o’the mill
Ever
Because
Madam
Jack of the lantern
Of the clock
Never
Over
Run of the mill

5-Contraction of Years:

Contracted Uncontracted
February ’69 February 1969

6-Miscellaneous Contractions:

Contracted Uncontracted
Let’s
Give’em
Y’all
Let us
Give them
You all

7-Single-Word Contractions (no apostrophe):

Contracted Uncontracted
Ad
Flu
Gator
Oft
Advertisement
Influenza
Alligator
Often

8-Informal Contractions (no apostrophe):

Contracted Uncontracted
Bout
Coulda
Didja
Dunno
Gimme
Gonna
Gotcha
Gotta
Hafta
Kinda
Lotta
Musta
Oughta
Outta
Sorta
Wassup
Woulda
About
Could have
Did you
Don’t know
Give me
Going to
Got you
Have to
Have to
Kind of
Lot of
Must have
Ought to
Out of
Sort of
What is up
Would have

9-Contractions of Proper Nouns:

Contracted Uncontracted
Tom’s
Susan’s
Alex’ll
Jane’d
Tom is
Susan has
Alex will
Jane would

Some of these contractions may sound silly, and some are best used only when writing dialogue intended to accurately represent speech, but they all have their uses. If you’re not sure if a particular contraction is correct or appropriate, ask your editor for advice.

If you enjoyed this article and are in the process of writing a nonfiction book, be sure to check out my free nonfiction success guide, drawn from years of experience editing books for bestselling authors (including a New York Times bestseller) and ghostwriting for CEOs and politicians. Simply click here to get instant access.

Ben

Leave me a comment below if you have any questions or a specific need that I can help you address – I operate an author services firm that specializes in helping entrepreneurs, professionals and business owners who want to publish books as a calling card for prospects, to establish their status as an expert or to just to generate additional leads for their businesses.

Here are some related posts I highly recommend:

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How Long Does it Take to Write a Book to Help Grow Your Business?

Bennett R. ColesBennett R. Coles is an award-winning author of six books published through Harper Collins (New York) and Titan Publishing Group (London). He is also the publisher at Promontory Press, editor for multiple bestselling authors (including a NY Times bestseller), ghostwriter for CEOs and politicians and the founder of Cascadia Author Services, a boutique full-service firm that specializes in premium author services specifically designed for busy professionals. Our end-to-end services include writer coaching, ghostwriting, editing, proofing, cover design, book layout, eBook production, marketing, printing and distribution.

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