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A contraction consists of two words that are combined to form one word. The verb "contract" means "to decrease in size." When we write contractions, we are decreasing the word in size.

Why do we write contractions?

Contractions are used during informal, casual writing, and speaking. They are used as a way of speaking quickly and more fluidly.

It is important to know when to use contractions. Contractions should only be used when writing is informal. Contractions should not be used in academic or other types of formal writing.


Apostrophes are a form of punctuation. They have many uses, one of which is to help with forming contractions.

In the elongated version of phrases, we leave words just as they are, such as "Do not touch."

In a contraction, we use an apostrophe to signify that letters have been taken out: "Don't touch."

It is important to place the apostrophe in the correct place in the contraction.

Contractions with the verb "To Be"

Contractions with verb conjugations of the verb "to be" are some of the easiest and most straightforward. They mostly just require removing one or two letters and inserting an apostrophe.

Verb conjugations:

I am

Cross out the "a" and replace it with an apostrophe. Bring the letters together so it forms one word.

Contracted form = I'm

The contraction for "I am" is "I'm."

Repeat this for the rest of the "to be" conjugations. Simply remove the first letter of the second word and replace with an apostrophe.

  • You are → You're
  • He is → He's
  • She is → She's
  • We are → We're
  • They are → They're

It is important to always remember to write the apostrophe when forming a contraction.

For example:

If you forgot to write the apostrophe in "we're," you'd write "were" which is an entirely different word.

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