Most of us love using shortcuts

Whether it means using cheat codes in video games to skip levels

Living out of your suitcase instead of unpacking

Using speed dial or predictive text on your phone

Climbing two stairs at a time (well that’s not really a shortcut, but we get the idea)

In language too we can use shortcuts

Abbreviations, acronyms, clipped forms and contractions are the shortcuts we use in language

The verb ‘contract’ means to squeeze together

To make a contraction, two words are squeezed together

A few letters are omitted and these omitted letters are replaced by an apostrophe

When we contract ‘you’ and ‘are’, we lose the ‘a’ and the two words are joined using an apostrophe

In contractions, apostrophes can only be put in place of the discarded letters

Let us look at some examples to understand contractions better

A favourite of those that live in the past, holding on their regrets ‘should’ve’

Here the ‘ha’ from have is scraped off, and the words are joined using an apostrophe

Contractions can also be used to shorten a single word

For example ‘over’ can be contracted by putting an apostrophe in place of ‘v’

‘Madam’ is also an example of a small word being contracted, the ‘d’ is replaced with an apostrophe

Another example : the word ‘cannot’ is contracted to make a shorter word ‘can’t’

We see that the ‘no’ has been kicked out of ‘cannot’ and replaced with an apostrophe

Double contractions combine three or more words together

Commonly contracted words such as ‘not’ and ‘will’ can be combined to form a double contraction

‘not’ and ‘have’ are contracted as usual...

And clubbed together… for example : could not have becomes couldn’t’ve

However, such contractions are not used in formal writing

Contractions can also be used to shorten phrases

These phrases generally do not include regular contractions such as ‘not’ and ‘have’

An example of this is a contraction we use often to tell the time

O’clock is actually a contraction of the phrase ‘of the clock’ the

We see that the letters that are dropped are replaced with an apostrophe in their place

Let us revise what we have learned about contractions

A contraction joins two or more words together

It can be made by joining two or more words together

When the words are joined to form a contraction, one or more letters are discarded

We must remember that an apostrophe is put strictly in place of the discarded letters

That’s all folks!