Contraction (grammar)

Shortening of words or phrases in lecture and/or writing
This article is about grammar of modern languages, which involves exception. For contraction in Ancient Greek and the coalescence of two vowels into one, see crasis. For the linguistic serve of pronouncing vowels together, see Synaeresis. For early uses, see Contraction ( disambiguation ) A contraction is a shorten interpretation of the spoken and written forms of a word, syllable, or parole group, created by omission of internal letters and sounds. In linguistic psychoanalysis, contractions should not be confused with crasis, abbreviations and initialisms ( including acronym ), with which they parcel some semantic and phonetic functions, though all three are connoted by the terminus “ abbreviation ” in unleash parlance. [ 1 ] Contraction is besides distinguished from morphologic clip, where beginnings and endings are omitted.

The definition overlaps with the term blend ( a linguistic blend ), but a distinction can be made between a portmanteau and a contraction by noting that contractions are formed from words that would otherwise appear in concert in sequence, such as do and not, whereas a blend word is formed by combining two or more existent words that all relate to a singular concept that the portmanteau describes .

english [edit ]

English has a number of contractions, largely involving the exception of a vowel ( which is replaced by an apostrophe in writing ), as in I’m for “ I am ”, and sometimes other changes as well, as in won’t for “ will not ” or ain’t for “ am not ”. These contractions are common in speech and in informal writing, but tend to be avoided in more formal write ( with limited exceptions, such as the mandate form of “ o’clock ” ). The main contractions are listed in the be postpone ( for more explanation see english auxiliaries and contractions ) .

Full form





informal; any auxiliary verb + not is often contracted, e.g. can’t, don’t, shan’t, shouldn’t, won’t, but not is rarely contracted with other parts of speech;
when a prison term beginning “ I am not … ” undergoes an interrogative inversion, contraction is to one of two irregular forms Aren’t I …? ( standard ) or Ain’t I …? ( dialectic ), both being far more coarse than uncontracted Am not I …? ( rare and stilted ) or Am I not …?

let us


informal, as in “Let’s do this.”

I am


informal, as in “I’m here.”



informal; we’re /wɪər/ or /wɛər/ is, in most cases, pronounced differently from were /wɜr/.



informal, as in “What’s he do there every day?”


informal, as in “He’s driving right now.”


informal, as in “She’s been here before.”



informal, as in “I’ve got two left.”



informal, e.g. “He’d already left.” or “We’d better go.”


informal, as in “Where’d she go?”


informal, as in “We’d like to go.”



informal, as in “they’ll call you later.”


informal, as in “I’ll call you later.”



standard in some fixed compounds,[Note 1] as in three o’clock, cat o’ nine tails, jack-o’-lantern, will-o’-wisp, man o’ war, run-o’-the-mill (but mother-o’-pearl is borderline); informal otherwise, as in “cup o’ coffee,” “barrel o’ monkeys,” “Land o’ Goshen”

of the

it was


archaic, except in stock uses such as ‘Twas the night before Christmas



informal, partially from hem, the original dative and accusative of they[2][3]



2nd person pronoun (you) has plurality marked in some varieties of English (e.g. Southern U.S.) by combining with e.g. all, which is then usually contracted to y’all — in which case it likely is standard[Note 2]



’bout is informal, e.g. I’ll come by ’bout noon.



’cause is very informal, e.g. Why did you do it? Just ’cause.
contraction is a type of elision, simplifying pronunciation through reducing ( dropping or shortening ) sounds occurring to a word group. In subject–auxiliary inversion, the sign negative forms behave as if they were auxiliaries themselves, changing place with the submit. For exercise, the question form of He won’t go is Won’t he go?, whereas the uncontracted equivalent is Will he not go?, with not following the subject .

chinese [edit ]

The Old Chinese writing organization ( oracle bone script and bronzeware handwriting ) is well suited for the ( about ) one-to-one agreement between morpheme and glyph. Contractions, in which one glyph represents two or more morphemes, are a noteworthy exception to this convention. About twenty or so are noted to exist by traditional philologists, and are known as jiāncí ( 兼詞, fall. ‘concurrent words ‘ ), while more words have been proposed to be contractions by holocene scholars, based on holocene reconstructions of Old Chinese phonology, epigraphic tell, and syntactic considerations. For example, 非 [ fēi ] has been proposed to be a contraction of 不 ( bù ) + 唯/隹 ( wéi/zhuī ). These contractions are not by and large graphically apparent, nor is there a general rule for how a quality representing a contraction might be formed. As a leave, the identification of a character as a contraction, arsenic well as the password ( s ) that are proposed to have been contracted, are sometimes disputed. As slang Chinese dialects use sets of function words that differ well from Classical Chinese, about all classical contractions listed below are now archaic and have disappeared from casual use. however, advanced contractions have evolved from these new slang routine words. modern contractions appear in all the major advanced dialect groups. For model, 别 ( bié ) ‘do n’t ‘ in Standard Mandarin is a contraction of 不要 ( bùyào ), while 覅 ( fiào ) ‘do n’t ‘ in Shanghainese is a contraction of 勿要 ( wù yào ), as is apparent graphically. similarly, in Northeast Mandarin 甭 ( béng ) ‘need n’t ‘ is both a phonological and graphic compression of 不用 ( bùyòng ). last, yue contracts 乜嘢 ( mat1 ye5 ) [ 4 ] ‘what ? ‘ to 咩 ( me1 ) .

Table of Classical Chinese contractions

Full form[5]






tjə ga


In some rarer cases 諸 can also be contraction for 有之乎. 諸 can be used on its own with the meaning of “all, the class of”, as in 諸侯 “the feudal lords.”


njᴀ tjə gaj


najs gaj


ʔa tjə


於之 is never used; only 焉.


tjə ʔrjan




wja tjə


Rare. The prepositions 於, 于, and 乎 are of different origin, but used interchangeably (except that 乎 can also be used as a final question particle).


nja tjə



wjot tjə



pjə tjə



mja tjə


弗 and 勿 were originally not contractions, but were reanalyzed as contractions in the Warring States period.


njə ljəʔ



ga pjə


胡 is a variant of 何.


ljᴀjʔ ga


Also written 歟.


ljᴀjʔ ga


Also written 耶. Probably a dialectal variant of 與.


pjə ga


夫 has many other meanings.

Note: The particles 爰, 焉, 云, and 然 ending in [ -j [ a/ə ] nitrogen ] act as the grammatical equivalents of a verb ( or coverb ) followed by 之 ‘him ; her ; it ( third person aim ) ‘ or a alike demonstrative pronoun pronoun in the object place. In fact, 于/於 ‘ ( is ) in ; at ‘, 曰 ‘say ‘, and 如 ‘resemble ‘ are never followed by 之 ‘ ( third base person object ) ‘ or 此 ‘ ( near demonstrative pronoun ) ‘ in pre-Qin texts. alternatively, the respective ‘contractions ‘ 爰/焉, 云, and 然 are constantly used in their place. Nevertheless, no known object pronoun is phonologically allow to serve as the conjectural pronoun that had undergo contraction. Hence, many authorities do not consider them to be true contractions. As an alternative explanation for their lineage, Pulleyblank proposed that the [ -n ] ending is derived from a sino-tibetan aspect marker which belated took on anaphoric quality. [ 7 ]

french [edit ]

The french language has a variety show of contractions, similar to English but mandate, as in C’est la vie ( “ That ‘s life ” ), where c’est stands for ce + est ( “ that is ” ). The geological formation of these contractions is called exception. In general, any monosyllabic news ending in e caduc ( schwa ) will contract if the stick to bible begins with a vowel, h or y ( as h is silent and absorbed by the sound of the succeeding vowel ; y sounds like i ). In addition to cec’- ( demonstrative pronoun “ that ” ), these words are quequ’- ( concurrence, relative pronoun, or interrogative pronoun “ that ” ), nen’- ( “ not ” ), ses’- ( “ himself ”, “ herself ”, “ itself ”, “ oneself ” before a verb ), jej’- ( “ I ” ), mem’- ( “ me ” before a verb ), tet’- ( cozy curious “ you ” before a verb ), le or lal’- ( “ the ” ; or “ he ”, “ she ”, “ it ” before a verb or after an imperative verb and before the bible y or en ), and ded’- ( “ of ” ). Unlike with English contractions, however, these contractions are mandate : one would never say ( or write ) *ce est or *que elle. Moi ( “ me ” ) and toi ( cozy “ you ” ) compulsorily contract to m’- and t’- respectively after an imperative verb and before the word y or en. It is besides mandatary to avoid the repeat of a sound when the conjunction si ( “ if ” ) is followed by il ( “ he ”, “ it ” ) or ils ( “ they ” ), which begin with the lapp vowel phone i : *si ils’il ( “ if it ”, if he ” ) ; *si ilss’ils ( “ if they ” ). certain prepositions are besides compulsorily merged with masculine and plural address articles : au for à le, aux for à les, du for de le, and des for de les. however, the contraction of cela ( demonstrative pronoun “ that ” ) to ça is optional and informal. In informal address, a personal pronoun may sometimes be contracted onto a follow verb. For exemplar, je ne sais pas ( IPA : [ ʒənəsɛpa ], “ I do n’t know ” ) may be pronounced roughly chais pas ( IPA : [ ʃɛpa ] ), with the ne being wholly elided and the [ ʒ ] of je being mix with the [ sulfur ] of sais. [ original research? ] It is besides common in cozy context to condense tu to t’- before a vowel, for example, t’as mangé for tu as mangé .

hebrew [edit ]

In Modern Hebrew, the prepositional prefixes -בְּ /bə-/ ‘in ‘ and -לְ /lə-/ ‘to ‘ contract with the definite article prefix -ה ( /ha-/ ) to form the prefixes -ב /ba/ ‘in the ‘ and -ל /la/ ‘to the ‘. In colloquial Israeli Hebrew, the preposition את ( /ʔet/ ), which indicates a definite address aim, and the definite article prefix -ה ( /ha-/ ) are often contracted to ‘ת ( /ta-/ ) when the former immediately precedes the latter. Thus ראיתי את הכלב ( /ʁaˈʔiti ʔet haˈkelev/, “ I saw the dog ” ) may become ראיתי ת’כלב ( /ʁaˈʔiti taˈkelev/ ) .

italian [edit ]

In italian, prepositions merge with direct articles in predictable ways. The prepositions a, da, di, in, su, con and per compound with the respective forms of the definite article, namely il, lo, la, l’, i, gli, gl’, and le .
















  • Contractions with a, da, di, in, and su are mandatory, but those with con and per are optional.
  • Words in parentheses are no longer very commonly used. However, there’s a difference between pel and pei, which are old-fashioned, and the other contractions of per, which are frankly obsolete. Col and coi are still common; collo, colla, cogli and colle are nowadays rare in the written language, but common in speaking.
  • Formerly, gl’ was often used before words beginning with i, however it is no longer in very common (written) use.

The words ci and è ( form of essere, to be ) and the words vi and è are contracted into c’è and v’è ( both meaning “ there is ” ) .

  • C’è / V’è un problema” – There is a problem

The words dove and come are contracted with any word that begins with e, deleting the -e of the principal word, as in “ Com’era bello ! ” – “ How handsome he / it was ! ”, “ Dov’è illinois tuo amico ? ” – “ Where ‘s your ally ? ” The same is often true of other words of like form, e.g. quale. The direct object pronouns “ lo ” and “ la ” may besides contract to form “ fifty ‘ ” with a imprint of “ avere ”, such as “ L’ho comprato ” – “ I have bought it ”, or “ L’abbiamo view ” – “ We have seen her ”. [ 8 ]

spanish [edit ]

spanish has two mandatary phonetic contractions between prepositions and articles : al ( to the ) for a el, and del ( of the ) for de el ( not to be confused with a él, meaning to him, and de él, meaning his or, more literally, of him ). early contractions were coarse in writing until the seventeenth hundred, the most common being de + personal and demonstrative pronouns : destas for de estas ( of these, fem. ), daquel for de aquel ( of that, masc. ), dél for de él ( of him ) etc. ; and the feminine article before words beginning with a- : l’alma for la alma, now el alma ( the soul ). respective sets of demonstrative pronoun pronouns originated as contractions of aquí ( here ) + pronoun, or pronoun + otro/a ( other ) : aqueste, aqueso, estotro etc. The modern aquel ( that, masc. ) is the only survivor of the first form ; the personal pronouns nosotros ( we ) and vosotros ( pl. you ) are remnants of the second. In medieval text, unstressed words very frequently appear contracted : todol for todo el ( all the, masc. ), ques for que es ( which is ) ; etc. including with common words, like d’ome ( d’home/d’homme ) alternatively de ome ( home/homme ), and so on. Though not strictly a contraction, a especial form is used when combining con with mí, ti, or sí, which is written as conmigo for * con mí ( with me ), contigo for * con ti ( with you sing. ), consigo for * con sí ( with himself/herself/itself/themselves ( themself ). ) finally, one can hear [ clarification needed ] pa’ for para, deriving as pa’l for para el, but these forms are only considered appropriate in cozy actor’s line .

portuguese [edit ]

In Portuguese, contractions are common and much more numerous than those in spanish. respective prepositions regularly shrink with certain articles and pronouns. For exemplify, de ( of ) and por ( by ; once per ) combining with the definite articles o and a ( masculine and womanly forms of “ the ” respectively ), producing do, da ( of the ), pelo, pela ( by the ). The preposition de contracts with the pronouns ele and ela ( he, she ), producing dele, dela ( his, her ). In addition, some verb forms contract with enclitic object pronouns : for example, the verb amar ( to love ) combines with the pronoun a ( her ), giving amá-la ( to love her ). Another compression in Portuguese that is alike to English ones is the combination of the pronoun da with words starting in a, resulting in changing the foremost letter a for an apostrophe and joining both words. Examples : Estrela d’alva ( A popular phrase to refer to Venus that means “ Alb headliner ”, as a reference to its luminosity ) ; Caixa d’água ( water tank ) .

german [edit ]

In cozy, speak german prepositional phrases, one can much merge the preposition and the article ; for case, von dem becomes vom, zu dem becomes zum, or an das becomes ans. Some of these are thus common that they are mandate. In cozy lecture, aufm for auf dem, unterm for unter dem, etc. are besides used, but would be considered to be faulty if written, except possibly in quoted direct actor’s line, in appropriate context and style. The pronoun es much contracts to ‘s ( normally written with the apostrophe ) in certain context. For model, the greeting Wie geht es? is normally encountered in the contracted form Wie geht’s? .

Local languages in German-speaking areas

regional dialects of german, and assorted local languages that normally were already used long before today ‘s standard German was created, do use contractions normally more frequently than german, but varying wide between different local anesthetic languages. The informally speak german contractions are observed about everywhere, most often accompanied by extra ones, such as in den becoming in’n ( sometimes im ) or haben wir becoming hamwer, hammor, hemmer, or hamma depending on local intonation preferences. bavarian german features respective more contractions such as gesund sind wir becoming xund samma, which are schematically applied to all word or combinations of similar sound. ( One must remember, however, that german wir exists aboard Bavarian mir, or mia, with the same mean. ) The Munich-born football player Franz Beckenbauer has as his catchphrase “ Schau thousand mal ” ( “ Schauen wir einmal ” – in English “ We shall see. ” ). A ledger about his career had as its claim the slenderly longer interpretation of the phrase, “ Schau’n Mer Mal ”. such features are found in all central and southerly lyric regions. A sample from Berlin : Sag einmal, Meister, kann man hier einmal hinein? is spoken as Samma, Meesta, kamma hier ma rin?

respective West central german dialects along the Rhine River have built contraction patterns involving farseeing phrases and entire sentences. In manner of speaking, words are much concatenated, and frequently the process of “ affair ” is used. indeed, [Dat] kriegst Du nicht may become Kressenit, or Lass mich gehen, habe ich gesagt may become Lomejon haschjesaat. largely, there are no binding orthographies for local dialects of german, hence spell is left to a capital extent to authors and their publishers. Outside quotations, at least, they normally pay little attention to print more than the most normally speak contractions, so as not to degrade their readability. The use of apostrophes to indicate omissions is a deviate and well less frequent process than in English-language publications .

norwegian [edit ]

The habit of contractions is not allowed in any class of standard norwegian spelling ; however, it is reasonably common to shorten or contract words in talk lyric. Yet, the commonality varies from dialect to dialect and from sociolect to sociolect—it depends on the formality etc. of the dress. Some park, and quite drastic, contractions found in norwegian speech are “ jakke ” for “ jeg har ikke ”, meaning “ I do not have ” and “ dække ” for “ det erbium ikke ”, meaning “ there is not ”. The most frequently used of these contractions—usually consisting of two or three words contracted into one son, contain short, common and much monosyllabic words like jeg, du, deg, det, har or ikke. The manipulation of the apostrophe ( ‘ ) is much less common than in English, but is sometimes used in contractions to show where letters have been dropped. In extreme point cases, long, integral sentences may be written as one parole. An exercise of this is “ Det ordner seg ab seg selv ” in standard written Bokmål, meaning “ It will sort itself out ” could become “ dånesæsæsjæl ” ( note the letters Å and Æ, and the word “ sjæl ”, as an center dialect spelling of selv ). R-dropping, being present in the example, is specially coarse in language in many areas of Norway [ which? ], but plays out in different ways, as does exception of word-final phonemes like /ə/. Because of the many dialects of norwegian and their far-flung use it is often unmanageable to distinguish between non-standard write of standard Norwegian and eye dialect spelling. It is about universally true that these spellings try to convey the way each word is pronounced, but it is rare to see language written that does not adhere to at least some of the rules of the official orthography. Reasons for this include words spelled unphonemically, ignorance of conventional spelling rules, or adaptation for better transcription of that dialect ‘s phonemes .

latin [edit ]

Latin contains respective examples of contractions. One such case is preserved in the verb nolo ( I am unwilling/do not want ), which was formed by a contraction of non volo ( volo mean “ I want ” ). similarly this is observed in the first person plural and third person plural forms ( nolumus and nolunt respectively ) .

japanese [edit ]

Some contractions in rapid speech include ~っす ( -ssu ) for です ( desu ) and すいません ( suimasen ) for すみません ( sumimasen ). では ( dewa ) is frequently contracted to じゃ ( ja ). In certain grammatical context the atom の ( no ) is contracted to plainly ん ( n ). When used after verb ending in the concerted form ~て ( -te ), certain auxiliary verbs and their derivations are often abbreviated. Examples :

Original form




~ている/~ていた/~ています/etc .
-te iru / -te ita / -te imasu / etc.

~てる/~てた/~てます/etc .
-te ru / -te ta / -te masu / etc.

~ていく/~ていった/etc. *
-te iku / -te itta / etc.*

~てく/~てった/etc. *
-te ku / -te tta / etc.*

~ておく/~ておいた/~ておきます/etc .
-te oku / -te oita / -te okimasu / etc.

~とく/~といた/~ときます/etc .
-toku / -toita / -tokimasu / etc.

~てしまう/~てしまった/~てしまいます/etc .
-te shimau / -te shimatta / -te shimaimasu / etc.

~ちゃう/~ちゃった/~ちゃいます/etc .
-chau / -chatta / -chaimasu / etc.

~でしまう/~でしまった/~でしまいます/etc .
-de shimau / -de shimatta / -de shimaimasu / etc.

~じゃう/~じゃった/~じゃいます/etc .
-jau / -jatta / -jaimasu / etc.

-te wa
-de wa
-nakute wa
* this abbreviation is never used in the civil union, to avoid the resultant ambiguity between an abbreviate ikimasu ( go ) and the verb kimasu ( come ). The ending ~なければ ( -nakereba ) can be contracted to ~なきゃ ( -nakya ) when it is used to indicate debt instrument. It is much used without an aide, for example, 行かなきゃ(いけない) ( ikanakya (ikenai) ) “ I have to go. ” other times, contractions are made to create newly words or to give lend or altered meaning :

  • The word 何か (nanika) “something” is contracted to なんか (nanka) to make a colloquial word with a meaning along the lines of “sort of,” but that can be used with almost no meaning. Its usage is as a filler word is similar to English “like.”
  • じゃない (ja nai) “is not” is contracted to じゃん (jan), which is used at the end of statements to show the speaker’s belief or opinion, often when it is contrary to that of the listener, e.g., いいじゃん! (ii jan!) “What, it’s fine!”
  • The commonly used particle-verb phrase という (to iu) is often contracted to ~って/~て/~っつー (-tte/-te/-ttsū) to give a more informal or noncommittal feeling.
  • といえば (to ieba), the conditional form of という (to iu) mentioned above, is contracted to ~ってば (-tte ba) to show the speaker’s annoyance at the listener’s failure to listen to, remember, or heed what the speaker has said, e.g., もういいってば! (mō ii tte ba!), “I already told you I don’t want to talk about it anymore!”.
  • The common words だ (da) and です (desu) are older contractions that originate from である (de aru) and でございます (de gozaimasu). These are fully integrated into the language now, and are not generally thought of as contractions; however in formal writing (e.g., literature, news articles, or technical/scientific writing), である (de aru) is used in place of だ (da).
  • The first-person singular pronoun 私 is pronounced わたくし (watakushi) in very formal speech, but commonly contracted to わたし(watashi) in less formal speech, and further clipped in specifically younger women’s speech to あたし (atashi).

assorted dialects of Japanese besides use their own specific contractions that are much unintelligible to speakers of other dialects .

polish [edit ]

In the polish terminology pronouns have contracted forms that are more prevailing in their colloquial custom. Examples are go and mu. The non-contracted forms are jego ( unless it is used as a possessive pronoun ) and jemu, respectively. The clitic , which stands for niego ( him ) as in dlań ( dla niego ), is more common in literature. The non-contracted forms are broadly used as a means to accentuate. [ 9 ]

Uyghur [edit ]

Uyghur, a Turkic language spoken in Central Asia, includes some verbal suffixes that are actually contracted forms of compound verb ( serial verb ). For example, sëtip alidu ( sell-manage, “ wield to sell ” ) is normally written and pronounced sëtivaldu, with the two words forming a compression and the [ phosphorus ] leniting into a [ v ] or [ w ]. [ original research? ]

In Filipino, most contractions need other words to be contracted correctly. only words that end with vowels can make a contraction with words like “ at ” and “ ay. ” In this chart, the “ @ ” represents any vowel .

Full form



~@ at


~@ ay


~@ ng


Informal. as in “Isa’n libo”

~@ ang


See besides [edit ]

Notes [edit ]

  1. ^ Fixed compound is a word give voice used grammatically as a noun or other part of address ( but in this case not a verb ) where the phrase is changeless and widely sympathize. The phrase does not change no topic where it occurs in a sentence or elsewhere, nor can individual elements be substituted with synonym ( but alternatives to the compound may exist ). May be considered idiomatic, though the meaning of most were transparent when coined. many are normally written hyphenated, but this reflects a common preference to hyphenate english compounds ( except verb ) containing prepositions. “ Fixed ” being a matter of degree, in this case it basically means “ standard ” —that the contraction is not considered cozy is the best sign that it is fixed .
  2. ^ In varieties that do not normally stigmatize plurality ( so use unmodified you as the pronoun when addressing a individual person or group ), there may be times when a speaker wants to make clear that they are addressing multiple people by employing you all ( or both of you, etc. ) —in which case the contraction y’all would never be used. ( The compression is a impregnable sign of the zodiac of an english variety that normally marks plurality. )

References [edit ]

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