Grammar Goodness: Apostrophes in Contractions

Grammar Goodness: Apostrophes in Contractions

By Sarah D.

Why do we study grammar?

Some would say it’s to ace the test; some would say it’s so that we can communicate clearly with other human beings!

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So what is a contraction? With a contraction, a phrase is contracted (shortened) into one word, and at least one letter is omitted. The apostrophe stands for the omission.

Let’s take a look at some examples.

Do not = Don’t

I do not like Mondays.

do not –>  donot –>   don_t –> don’t

I don’t like Mondays. 

Would have = Would’ve

I would have called you, but I fell asleep.

would have –> wouldhave –> would__ve –> would’ve

I would’ve called you, but I fell asleep. 

They are = They’re

They are on their way over.

they are –> theyare –> they_re –> they’re

They’re on their way over.

There are = There’re

There are a lot of reasons to love ice cream.  

there are –> thereare –> there_re –> there’re

There’re a lot of reasons to love ice cream.  

You are = You’re

You are great at math.

You are –> youare –> you_re –>y ou’re

You’re great at math.

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It is = it’s*

It is a lovely day.

it is –> itis –> it_s –> it’s

It’s a lovely day.

It has = It’s*

it has –> ithas –> it_s –> it’s

It’s been a lovely day.

*Notice that it’s can be a contraction of either it is or it has.

You all = Y’all

You all come back soon!

You all –> youall –> y_all –> y’all

Y’all come back soon!

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A Noun + is/will:

The train will be here soon.

Train will –> trainwill –> train__ll –> train’ll

The train’ll be here soon.

Also…

The train is stuck. –> The train’s stuck.

That train is so slow. –> That train’s so slow.

EXCEPTION:

I will not take that train again anytime soon.

will not –> won’t

I won’t take that train again anytime soon.

NEXT TIME: Using an apostrophe to show possession (belonging).

About the author:

Sarah earned a bachelor’s at Harvard and a master’s at Columbia, and she completed CalState’s teacher preparation program. She has taught and tutored for 16 years. You can find and book her for private tutoring in New York City on Smart Alec.