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1.4: Contractions

This resource was written by Jaclyn M. Wells.
Last edited by Allen Brizee on March 23, 2009 .

This resource deals with contractions.


In a contraction, you combine two words by leaving out some letters and replacing them with an apostrophe. We use contractions all the time when speaking and in informal writing, though they are less common in academic writing. See the examples below.

Because some possessives and contractions sound alike (you’re/your, they’re/their, it’s/its), you have to be very careful not to confuse these words (see the homonyms section below). To check for whether a possessive or a contraction should be used, consider the meaning of the sentence. What is being communicated? See the examples below.


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