We use contractions (I’m, we’re) in everyday speech and informal writing. Contractions, which are sometimes called ‘short forms’, commonly combine a pronoun or noun and a verb, or a verb and not, in a shorter form. Contractions are usually not appropriate in formal writing.
We make contractions with auxiliary verbs, and also with be and have when they are not auxiliary verbs. When we make a contraction, we commonly put an apostrophe in place of a missing letter.
The following are the most common contractions.
Contractions with I, you, he, she, it, we, and they
’m = am (I’m)
’re = are (you’re, we’re, they’re)
’s = is and has (he’s, she’s, it’s)
’ve = have (’ve, you’ve, we’ve, they’ve)
’ll = will (I’ll, you’ll, he’ll, she’ll, it’ll, we’ll, they’ll)
’d = had and would (I’d, you’d, he’d, she’d, it’d, we’d, they’d)
Contractions with auxiliary verb and not
The contraction for not is n’t:
are not (we aren’t, you aren’t)
did not (I didn’t, they didn’t)
is not (she isn’t, it isn’t)
We use contractions with be + negative in two ways:
She is not is contracted to she isn’t or she’s not. I am not is only contracted to I’m not. Not: I’m n’t or I am n’t. They are not is contracted to they aren’t or they’re not. The isn’t / aren’t contractions are more common after nouns. The ’s / ’re not contractions are more common after pronouns: The cakesaren’tready yet. She’s nota friend of mine.
Contractions can occur after nouns, names, here, there and now and question words. These contractions are not considered appropriate in formal writing:
My sister’s got married.
My sister has got married.
John’ll be very happy.
John will be very happy.
Here’s the coffee.
Here is the coffee.
There’s your watch.
There is your watch.
Now’s your chance.
Now is your chance.
Where’s the milk?
Where is the milk?
What has happened?
We don’t use more than one contraction:
He’s not free.
Not: he’sn’t free.
We don’t use affirmative contractions at the end of clauses:
I think we’re lost.
Yes, I think we are.
Not: I think we’re
However, we do use negative contractions at the end of clauses and we do commonly use contractions in tag questions:
You’ve contacted Jan, haven’t you?
No, I haven’t.
In question forms, am not is contracted to aren’t: