Understanding contractions

After reading the title of this post, I figured I should probably stipulate that when I say contractions, I am referring to the grammatical kind, not the pains that are experienced once a woman is in labour.

Had I not stipulated which version of the word contraction I am discussing in this post, I may have had some rather confused readers.

Just another fine example of a homonym, my friends!

One of my tutoring clients recently asked me to explain to them what exactly contractions are when it comes to grammar, and I thought it might be useful to share this knowledge with all of you.

In my own words, contractions are, simply put, a combination of two separate words to make one word.

It is slightly more complex than that, but I think this is a good starting point when explaining contractions to someone who is unfamiliar with them.  

When two words are combined in a contraction, an apostrophe is used to represent and distinguish where in the contraction two words were blended to create it. The apostrophe use also eliminates some letters that were in the two separate words initially.

For example, if you wanted to turn the phrase “would not” into a contraction, it would appear as

If you wanted to make a contraction out of the words “they are,” it would become “they’re.”

To transform the words “should have” into a contraction, the contraction would be “should’ve.”

There are a fuck load more examples in existence, but I’m not here to overwhelm anyone.

We use contractions in daily conversation and lingo extensively. Arguably, we don’t even realize when we are turning two separate words into a contraction when we speak because it has become so subconsciously innate in our minds. Us humans can be quite lazy when it comes to enunciation and pronunciation, and I believe contractions are a fine example of this laziness.

Contractions are not something that should be implemented in formal writing of any sort, for example, an essay or a newspaper report, unless a contraction appears in a pre-existing quotation.

Hopefully, this post proves that grammatical contractions aren’t nearly as awful as contractions felt during labour.

Image from https://images.pexels.com/photos/606541/pexels-photo-606541.jpeg?auto=compress&cs=tinysrgb&w=1260&h=750&dpr=1

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s