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Grammar Monster

Apostrophes in Contractions (with Examples)

Apostrophes in Contractions

An apostrophe can be used to form a contraction, which is an abbreviated version of a word or words. Here are two common contractions:
  • Isn't
  • (In this contraction, the apostrophe replaces the o of not, and the words is and not are joined to form a single word.)
  • Can't
  • (In this contraction, the apostrophe replaces the no of cannot.)

Contractions with Apostrophes Are Common in Informal Writing

Contractions with apostrophes are not common in formal writing. Contractions are generally reserved for informal writing as they are used to reflect how people speak.

Examples of Contractions with Apostrophes

Here are some more examples of contractions with apostrophes:
  • If you don't fail now and again, it's a sign you're playing it safe. (Woody Allen)
  • Don't look now, but there's one too many in this room, and I think it's you. (Groucho Marx)
Read more about apostrophes used to replace missing letters.
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Contractions with Is

It is common for 's to be added to a noun to mean is. For example:
  • Blood's not thicker than money. (Groucho Marx)
  • (Blood is not thicker than money.)

Only Use Official Contractions

You cannot make up your own contractions. For example:
  • Can you play the g'tar?
Also, you cannot cannot link contractions. For example:
  • I couldn't've joined in because I'd've been too tall.
Here is a list of official contractions:

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

Read more about contractions.