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.
- have not - haven’t
- are not - aren’t
- do not - don’t
- they are - they’re
- we are - we’re
- we will - we’ll
- he will - he’ll
- they will - they’ll
- I am - I’m
- she is - she’s
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.
- Incorrect: I heard that your going to the concert with us.
Correct: I heard that you’re going to the concert with us.
- Incorrect: Their shopping for a new blender right now.
Correct: They’re shopping for a new blender right now.
- Incorrect: I hear its going to snow tomorrow.
Correct: I hear it’s going to snow tomorrow.