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Using Contractions

In everyday spoken English forms of the verb 'to be' and other auxiliary verbs are usually contracted:

Example: He's been to London, They aren't our neighbors

Here is a chart of when to use the most common contractions in English.

Auxiliary Form Contractions With Pronouns Contractions With Nouns Contractions With Question Words
am I'm working this morning. - What'm I supposed to say? (common only in spoken English)
is He's going to come. - She's a teacher. - It's easy! John's at work. - Mary's playing the piano at the moment. Who's on the telephone? - What's he doing?
are You're a great friend! - They're playing golf this afternoon. The books're on their way. (common only in spoken English) What're you going to do?
has He's been to Paris twice. - It's been such a long time! - She's lived there all her life. Mary's gone to the store. What's she been doing? - Who's been invited?
have I've finished my homework. - They've got two cars. The students've finished their homework. (common only in spoken English) Where've you been all day? (common only in spoken English)
had He'd been waiting for three hours. - We'd better be going. Jack'd worked there before he left. (common only in spoken English) What'd you done before that? (common only in spoken English)
will I'll get you something to eat. - We'll be there soon. Peter'll catch the bus to work. What'll we do? Where'll you take us?
would I'd like some fish. They'd love to ask you some questions. Jane'd love to come. Where'd you like to go? (common only in spoken English)

Rule: Do not use the contracted form of the auxiliary in formal writing

Example: Dear Mr Brown,

I would like to invite you to our company presentation ...

NOT!!: Dear Mr Brown,

I'd like to invite you to our company presentation ...

More Grammar Help

  • Beginning Grammar
  • Lower Intermediate Grammar
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  • Upper Intermediate Grammar
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