What Are Contractions? (with Examples)

A contraction is an abbreviated version of a word or words.

Examples of Contractions

There are two main kinds:

1) Those formed by replacing missing letter(s) with an apostrophe. (These contractions are formed either by shortening a word or merging two words into one.) For example:
  • don't
  • can't
  • shouldn't
  • he's
(2) Those formed by compressing a word (i.e. without apostrophes)/ For example:
  • Mr.
  • Dr.
  • Prof.
  • Rev.
(Note: Under UK convention, contractions only attract a full stop (period), when the last letter of the contraction is different from the last letter of the full word.)

Only Use Apostrophes to Replace Letters in Standard Contractions

When an apostrophe replaces a letter, a new word is formed (most often, but not always, from two words originally). The new word is called a contraction.

You cannot invent your own contractions. Here is a list of common contractions in English:
aren'tare not
couldn'tcould not
didn'tdid not
doesn'tdoes not
don'tdo not
hadn'thad not
hasn'thas not
haven'thave not
he'dhe had, he would
he'llhe will, he shall
he'she is, he has
I'dI had, I would
I'llI will, I shall
I'mI am
I'veI have
isn'tis not
it'sit is, it has
let'slet us
mustn'tmust not
shan'tshall not
she'dshe had, she would
she'llshe will, she shall
she'sshe is, she has
shouldn'tshould not
that'sthat is, that has
there'sthere is, there has
they'dthey had, they would
they'llthey will, they shall
they'rethey are
they'vethey have
we'dwe had, we would
we'rewe are
we'vewe have
weren'twere not
what'llwhat will, what shall
what'rewhat are
what'swhat is, what has
what'vewhat have
where'swhere is, where has
who'dwho had, who would
who'llwho will, who shall
who'rewho are
who'swho is, who has
who'vewho have
won'twill not
wouldn'twould not
you'dyou had, you would
you'llyou will, you shall
you'reyou are
you'veyou have

A Quick Test

hot grammar tip

Hot Tip


Usually, business writing demands more formality than the use of contractions portrays. So, unless you're deliberately trying to show an informal image, don't use contractions (like can't, doesn't etc.) in business writing. Expand them to the full versions.


If you always expand your contraction, you are less likely to make a mistake with the following:

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