Contractions for beginners

You might wonder what the difference between formal and informal styles is. One of the elements that can make your writings informal is using contractions.

Contractions in English

What Are Contractions?

Contractions are the short versions of the same words. Sometimes we remove some letters to make a word shorter.

How to Make Contractions?

When we want to make contractions, we use a single apostrophe in place of the removed letter.

I’m here. → I am here.

She’s here → She is here.

When Do We Use Contractions?

Contractions are used in different contexts. Here are some of the main ones:

Contracted 'To Be' Verbs

Be verbs are 'am', 'is', 'are'/'was', and 'were'. We use these verbs after subjects (pronouns or nouns). For example:

She’s coming. → She is coming.

We’re talking → We are talking

Full form Contracted form
I am I'm
You are You're
It is It's
He is He's
She is She's
We are We're
They are They're

Negative Contractions

We add 'not' to make verbs negative. When we want to use a contracted form of the negative verb, we remove the letter 'o' and add an apostrophe in its place.

Full form Contracted form
I am not -
You are not You aren't
It is not It isn't
He is not He isn't
She is not She isn't
We are not We aren't
They are not They aren't

Warning!

We say 'she isn’t' or 'they aren’t' but not 'I amn't'. We only say 'I am not'.

The Modal Verb 'Can'

We use the modal verb 'can' in a lot of contexts. The negative form of can is cannot. When we use a contraction, we can use 'can’t' instead of 'cannot'. For example:

She can’t go → She cannot go.

He can’t sing. → He cannot sing

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