Apostrophes are great at standing in for missing letters, allowing us to shorten words. Paige and David discuss contractions and the Principle of Least Effort.
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- What are all the words that can use contractions?(7 votes)
- Here's a full list of...contractible? Is that a word? ..contractible words and their contractions.
- Hey, David, Don't makes sense more than won't because Don't is a contraction of "Do not," so, why did you say it sounded that way?(7 votes)
- I'm not David, but I can say, it probably slipped out because it rhymed with won't... Won't is obviously an exception to the general rule... Hope this answer helps (even though you asked about a year ago!!). ;)(12 votes)
- Is the apostrophe at the start of 'cause there because it is a contraction?(8 votes)
- Yes, that's right :)
The apostrophe indicates that some letters have been left out (in this case, the "be-" at the beginning of "because").(7 votes)
- can you end a sentence with a contraction?(6 votes)
- End a question with a contraction? There's no reason you can't. (How's that for an example?)
Here's another example:
"If she'd only have listened, she wouldn't've gotten lost. But she's deaf, so she couldn't've."(8 votes)
- when Somebody asks you to take out the trash or do something, could you just say I'll and that be correct. Because I'll means I will.(5 votes)
- Yes. You have given the meaning. Yes, you have been grammatical. Buty, sadly, you've communicated poorly.(7 votes)
- How about words like friends' and 'cause?(5 votes)
- For the word friends' , the apostrophe is indicating a possessive plural here (so something that belongs to several of your friends. "My friends' bikes are all parked behind the school.")
And yes, 'cause is a contraction of "because." You're using an apostrophe in place of the missing letters "be" to shorten the word. Good catch!(6 votes)
- what about she will does it turn in to she'll(4 votes)
- Why is will not contraction won't?(2 votes)
- Online Etymology Dictionary explains that “won’t” is a “contraction of will not, first recorded mid-15c. as wynnot, later wonnot (1580s) before the modern form emerged 1660s.”(4 votes)
- Is there a reason I will became I'll and not 'Ill or 'ill?(1 vote)
- 1) The apostrophe "stands for" the letters that were left out.
2) Orthography (the correct way to write) generally follows pronunciation.
3) In speaking, people were shortening "I will" to sound like the "w"sound wasn't there for a long time.
4) When writing finally got systematized, the sound people were making became written as the capital letter "I" followed by two small "ls".
5) To indicate the "w" sound that was "lost", an apostrophe was inserted.
6) Conclusion, "I'll".(5 votes)
- Why can't you end a sentence with a contraction, because if you did it would sound like this "that's the kind of person i'm." It just doesn't sound like a complete sentence. But why?(2 votes)
- As in David Alexander's examples, there are some occasions that you can use contractions at the end of sentences. Did you notice that all of his examples have "n't" in them? That's because while you can use a negative ("no") contraction at the end of a sentence or clause, you can't do the same with an affirmative ("yes") contraction. That's why your example wouldn't sound right.
To play off of David Alexander's second example, you couldn't say "She hasn't flown a fighter jet but he's." You'd have to put "he has".
While this doesn't answer why negative contractions work when affirmative ones don't (because I don't actually know), I hope it helped some! :)(2 votes)
- [Voiceover] Hello Grammarians, hello David. - [David] Hello Paige! - [Paige] So today we're gonna talk about contractions which are another use for our friend, the apostrophe. So David, what is a contraction? - [David] So something that apostrophes are really good at doing is showing when letters are missing from a word. Right, so let's say we have something like the two word phrase "I will". So in linguistics, I'm told there's this idea called the principle of least effort, but I'm not a linguist, Paige, you are. What is the principle of least effort? - [Paige] So that's kind of a fancy way of saying people like to be lazy. - [David] Sure. - [Paige] Which is, you know, tends to be accurate across language, so you know, we can say something like "I will", but honestly that kind of takes a lot of effort to say, right? - [David] I have to articulate the mouth in this particular way. It's just easier to just collapse all of that into one, you know, one syllable, one sound to say "I'll". And when we do that, we use an apostrophe to indicate the missing letters. That missing "w" sound. That's a contraction. So most model verbs, right, if you remember model auxiliaries from the verb section. We use those a lot in English. And so it's really easy to combine those with most words or pronouns into a contraction. So you could take the phrase "she would", which is a lot of letters to say. Takes a lot of letters to write. And we can turn that into, with the help of our friend the apostrophe, the word "she'd" means the same thing. - [Paige] Yeah, that's pretty amazing. I mean this tiny apostrophe stands in the place of all of these letters. - [David] Yeah it's doing a lot of work. Have I got a deal for your, Paige. How would you like three letters for the price of four? 'Cause you can shorten, you know, something like "he is" to "he's". - [Paige] Right. Yeah, I mean, that's what the principle we were talking about is all about. Like "he is" isn't that hard to say, but "he's" is a lot easier. - [David] So this is pretty straightforward, but there are some kind of strange uses of contractions. Some strange uses of the apostrophe that don't seem as immediately evident on their face. So for example if you contract the phrase "will not" into a single contraction, it doesn't turn into "willn't", it turns into "won't". - [Paige] So in this case the apostrophe stands in the place of this "o", but all these letters disappear, and they're kind of unaccounted for. - [David] It's weird, it's like the Bermuda Triangle of punctuation marks. They all just kind of got sucked up into that apostrophe. - [Paige] Yeah. - [David] Never to be seen again. - [Paige] Who knows where they went. - [David] But there aren't a ton of those. There's "won't", there's "don't", but not to take away from our original point. This is what the apostrophe does when it's working to contract. Right, it just takes letters from the middle of the word, and it takes them away, it stands in for the fact that there are letters missing. - [Paige] You got it. - [David] Cool. - [Paige] So "I will" goes to "I'll", "She would" becomes "she'd", "He is" becomes "he's", and "will not" becomes "won't". So that's contractions. You can learn anything. - [David] David out. - [Paige] Paige out.