Sentences: Affirmative and Negative Contractions

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Learning how to shorten groups of words in sentences for ease and simplicity in communication. Communication is an apparent answer to the painful divisions between self and other, private and public, and inner thought and outer world.
1. San José State University Writing Center
Written by Andrew Tucker
By definition, a contraction isa shortened form of a group of words. Contractions are used in
both written and oral communication. When a contraction is written in English, the omitted
letters are replaced by an apostrophe.
Common Contractions
Here are some common contractions and the groups of words that they represent.
aren’t > are not there’s > there is; there has
can’t > can not they'd > they had; they would
couldn’t > could not they'll > they will; they shall
didn’t > did not they’re > they are
doesn’t > does not they’ve > they have
don’t > do not we'd > we had; we would
hadn’t > had not we're > we are
hasn’t > has not we've > we have
haven’t > have not weren’t > were not
he’d > he had; he would what’ll > what will; what shall
he’ll > he will; he shall what’re > what are
he’s > he is; he has what’s > what is; what has
T would what’ve > what have
shall where’s > where is; where has

who'd > who had; who would
T’ve > I have who'll > who will; who shall
isn’t > is not who’re > who are
let’s > let us who’s > who is; who has
mightn’t > might not who've > who have
mustn’t > must not won’t > will not
shan’t > shall not wouldn’t > would not
she’d > she had; she would you'd > you had; you would
she’ll > she will; she shall you'll > you will; you shall
she’s > she is; she has you’re > you are
shouldn’t > should not you’ve > you have
that’s > that is; that has
One contraction that is not on the above list is “it’s.” It is useful to note that “it’s,” a contraction,
is often confused with “its,” a possessive pronoun. Remember,
it’s > itis and its > possessive pronoun
Contractions, Fall 2011. Rev. Summer 2014. 10f3
2. Here they are used in sentences.

Examples of It’s and Its
It’s nice outside today. > It is nice outside today.
The dog ate its food. (The food belongs to the dog.)

Contraction Usage
You probably use contractions when you speak to your friends and family members every day;
however, it is important to note that contractions are often considered inappropriate in formal
writing. Professors, employers, and other professionals like to see that you have taken your time
on a document, and using contractions is sometimes seen as a shortcut. To be safe, never use
contractions when writing for a class or when writing a professional document, such as a
personal statement or cover letter.

Activity 1
Each of the following sentences can be rewritten to contain one or more contraction(s). Using the
provided list as a reference, rewrite the following sentences.
Thave been studying for hours, but I still do not feel ready for the exam.
‘You were not at the coffee shop yesterday.
The paint she picked out was a lovely color, but it did not match the trim.
We would go to the beach with you; however, we have got too many chores to do.
‘You should not use contractions in formal writing.
Answer Key for Activity 1
1. T’ve, don’t
2. weren’t
3. didn’t
4. We'd, we've
5. shouldn’t
Activity 2
Each of the following sentences contains one or more contraction(s). Rewrite each sentence,
replacing any contractions with the groups of words they represent.
1. I can’t go with you because I’m busy that day.
2. It’s clear that the dog is frightened because he keeps placing his tail between his legs.
3. They’ve been trimming the trees at the park since this morning; I haven’t been able to
sleep since they started.
4. You mustn’t pester your grandmother like that.
She'll bring Jonathan with her if he’s willing to chip in for gas.
Contractions, Fall 2011. Rev. Summer 2014. 2 of 3

3. Answer Key for Activity 2
can not, [am
It is
They have, have not
must not
She will, he is
Nordquist, Richard. "A List of Standard Contractions in English." About Education.,
n.d. Web. 28 July 2014.
Contractions, Fall 2011. Rev. Summer 2014. 3 of 3