Contractions

What are Contractions?

Contractions are two words that are joined by an apostrophe. Examples include

  • It’s (for it is)
  • I’ll (for I will)
  • She’ll (for She will)
  • We’ll (for We will)
  • They’ll (for they will).

Related Concepts: Coordinate Order; Diction; Punctuation; Register


Why Do Contractions Matter?

Contractions facilitate brevity, simplicity, and clarity. These are highly elements of style.

When Should I Use Contractions?

The presence or absence of contractions in a text is a measure of diction: you should use contractions only in informal rhetorical situations. If you use contractions to communicate in formal situations, your readers, listeners, users . . . may infer that you tone, voice, or persona are not respectful or professional.

How can I find and fix contractions?

  1. Use the Search Feature on your browser or word-processing tool to find contractions.
  2. Read your paper out loud to find the contractions, or ask a friend to read for contractions.

What Words Can be Form Contractions?

Writers, speakers, knowledge workers . . . cannot join any two words with an apostrophe. Instead, convention dictates that only a certain number of words can be joined as contractions.