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Contractions - Glossary of Terms


A contraction is an abbreviated version of a word or words. There are two main kinds: 

Contractions formed by shortening a word or merging two words into one and replacing the missing letter(s) with an apostrophe:


don't, can't, shouldn't, he's

Contractions formed by compressing a word:


Mr, Prof., Rev., Revd
(Note: These contractions normally only attract a full stop (or period ), e.g., Prof., when the last letter of the contraction is different to the last letter of the full word.)

Interactive example:
Dr Barton and Col. Gould are not able to visit the Sgts' Mess. [show me the contractions]
Don't use contractions (like can't, doesn't etc.) in formal writing. Expand them to the full versions.  This is useful, if you're confused over its and it's, because there is a simple 100% rule: never ever write it's.  Always expand it to it is or it has.
Associated pages:
Overview of abbreviations
Full stops (periods) in contractions
Glossary of grammatical terms

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