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Contraction

A contraction is a shortened version of the written and spoken forms of a word, syllable, or word group, created by omission of internal letters and sounds.

Contractions - An overview

Contractions are shortened versions or a word. They make writing more simplified and assist with explaining information more efficiently. While most contractions are written and spoken, there are a few instances where the contraction is either spoken or written but not both.

Many people mistake contractions for abbreviated, shortened forms or words. This is not true. Contractions are formed from merging two, or sometimes more, words into one word. For example, will and not are contracted into won’t.

This linguistic blend of terms follows many rules and guidelines. Often the simplest includes omitting a few letters and adding an apostrophe. Other times the spelling is altered entirely.

Examples of contractions

English has more contractions than other languages, thus validating its position as the largest and most difficult to learn language. This linguistic blend of terms follows many rules and guidelines. Often the simplest includes omitting a few letters and adding an apostrophe. Other times the spelling is altered entirely.

Most contractions follow two simple guidelines – removing the vowel of the second word and replacing it with an apostrophe. For example, I am contracts into I’m. Other contractions take on entirely new forms, as with ain’t and won’t. These are considered very informal forms of grammar and are avoided in academic writing. However, slang and informal words are making its way into more formal language groups. 

Here are a list of the main English Contractions:

Not – ‘nt

Let + us = let's

I + am + I'm

Are -'re

Is -'s

Does -'s

Have -'ve

Had -'d

Will -'ll

Of - o'

It - ‘t

Additional rules and considerations

In linguistic analysis, contractions should not be confused with abbreviations nor acronyms. They may share similar attributes, but the base reasoning for using contractions versus abbreviations and initials are entirely different. 

Initialism takes two or more words and abbreviates them according to the first letter in each word. For example, Mark Smith is abbreviated as MS. Abbreviations take new word and shortens it into a new word. For example, appointment can be abbreviated as appt. 

Contractions are shortened versions or a word. They make writing more simplified and assist with explaining information more efficiently. While most contractions are written and spoken, there are a few instances where the contraction is either spoken or written but not both.

English has more contractions than other languages, thus validating its position as the largest and most difficult to learn language. This linguistic blend of terms follows many rules and guidelines. Often the simplest includes omitting a few letters and adding an apostrophe. Other times the spelling is altered entirely.

But English isn’t the only language that uses contractions (click here to read a brief history of contractions). French, Chinese, Japanese, German, and most languages have one form of contraction or another. For example, French uses two forms of contraction in its language. The liaison is used to connect words that end in a continent and combine the syllables with the next word beginning with a vowel. For example, mon ami (my friend) is pronounced as mo nami. 

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