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The Most Common English Contractions

There are times when formal English is appropriate—in some formal essays, for example. But other times, if you want your English to sound natural, it’s important to know how to use contractions. A contraction is a shortened form of a word or group of words, usually used with an apostrophe. In English, people use them all the time in both speaking and writing. 

Let’s go through some of the most common English contractions!

Contractions with “will”

  • I will → I’ll

What time should we come over for dinner? I’ll bring a pie.

  • you will → you’ll 

If you don’t drink more water, you’ll get dehydrated!

  • she will → she’ll

Did you take her car without asking? She’ll be really mad!

  • he will → he’ll

Do you think he’ll be at the party tonight? 

  • they will → they’ll 

They’ll be surprised when they see you after so long!

  • we will → we’ll 

I think we’ll just go out for dinner tonight rather than cooking.

  • it will → it’ll 

It’ll be almost 10 o’clock by the time we get out of the movie. 

Contractions with “have” (have/has) 

  • I have → I’ve

This Thai food is delicious! I’ve never tried it before. 

  • you have → you’ve 

You’ve been in bed for two days! Are you feeling any better yet? 

  • she has → she’s 

Would you believe that she’s won the lottery three times?

  • he has → he’s

He’s been working at our company for 15 years now.

  • they have → they’ve 

You’re too late—they’ve already left!

  • we have → we’ve

We’ve never been to Europe. Which countries should we visit? 

  • it has → it’s 

When are they going to deliver the gift I ordered? It’s been two months!

Contractions with “had” 

  • I had → I’d 

I’d been driving for five hours when I decided to stop and rest.  

  • you had → you’d 

You’d better hide that money or someone will take it!

  • she had → she’d 

She’d never seen a more beautiful sunset.

  • he had → he’d

He started to panic because he hadn’t studied for the test.

  • they had → they’d 

I asked them if they’d seen our dog and they said no.

  • we had → we’d 

We’d never been happier than we were when we moved into our new house.

  • it had → it’d 

It’d been raining all afternoon, then the sun came out.

Contractions with “would” 

  • I would → I’d

I’d love to see you this weekend—are you free?

  • you would → you’d 

You promised you’d help me prepare for my accounting exam. 

  • she would → she’d

She said she’d see us outside the concert tonight at 8 p.m. 

  • he would → he’d

He’s very caring and patient; I think he’d make a good school teacher.

  • they would → they’d

They’d never believe you if you told them that crazy story. 

  • we would → we’d

We thought we’d be able to go but our plans changed. 

  • it would → it’d 

It’d be great if you could drive me to the grocery store later. 

Contractions with “be” (am/are/is)

  • I am → I’m 

I’m never returning to that store. The customer service was terrible.

  • you are → you’re 

You’re right! I do need to buy a new car!

  • she is → she’s 

I love our new manager—she’s so supportive.

  • he is → he’s 

He’s coming now. He should be here in 20 minutes.

  • they are → they’re 

Have you met our new neighbours? They’re very interesting people!

  • we are → we’re 

We’re really going to miss you when you move overseas.

  • it is → it’s

Want to go to the park? It’s a beautiful day.

Contractions with “not”

  • cannot → can’t 

I’d love to help you but I can’t today.

  • will not → won’t 

I’m taking some time off and won’t be back in the office until the end of the month.

  • do not → don’t

Don’t worry! I’ll help you clean up this mess.

  • is not → isn’t

Why are you wearing that big coat? It isn’t even cold out.

  • was not → wasn’t

Did you like that movie? It wasn’t as good as I thought it would be.

  • were not → weren’t

We dropped by for a visit yesterday but they weren’t home.

Learn contractions for more natural English

If you want to sound more like a natural English speaker, using contractions is a great place to start. The contractions we discussed above will help you get to the next level.

To get some guidance from expert English coaches, contact Gabby today!

Andrea is a Gabby Academy coach and education technolgy writer based in Vancouver, Canada.