Commonly Spoken But Rarely Ever Written English Contractions

A friend of mine (whose first language isn’t English) recently asked me how to contract “they are”, to which I replied “they’re”. The same person then asked how to contract “there are”, to which I replied “there’re” (I was speaking not writing at the time). I was then asked by said person to show them how to write these contractions, to which I pointed out that we hardly ever use these in written English and, if you ever do, the majority of people will probably tell you they’re (sorry — I mean: “they are”) wrong. I then wondered how many other commonly-spoken-but-rarely-ever-written contractions there’re (sorry, ahem, “there are”) in this crazy language we call English…

Here’s a little (and by no-means complete) list:

  • couldn’t’ve — could not have
  • hadn’t’ve — had not have
  • he’d’ve — he would have
  • how’ll — how will
  • I’d’ve — I would have
  • it’d’ve — it would have
  • mightn’t — might not
  • mightn’t’ve — might not have
  • might’ve — might have
  • not’ve — not have
  • she’d’ve — she would have
  • shouldn’t’ve — should not have
  • there’d’ve — there would have
  • there’re — there are
  • they’d’ve — they would have
  • we’d’ve — we would have
  • what’re — what are
  • what’ve — what have
  • where’ve — where have
  • who’ve — who have
  • why’re — why are
  • wouldn’t’ve — would not have
  • y’all’d’ve — you all should have / you all could have / you all would have
  • you’d’ve — you would have

For a somewhat more complete list of both commonly- and rarely-used English contractions, check out this page on Wikipedia!

One response

  1. Marta Stelmaszak Avatar
    Marta Stelmaszak

    I’ve heard ‘ain’t’ so many times, often from people who normally swear not to use it at all :) I think there might be time to consider using those proudly, as spoken word is the pragmatics incarnate