Basics Of Grammar In English Managing Your Contractions Ep 383

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📝 Author: Hilary

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💬 2309 words ⏳ Reading Time 12 min


Basics Of Grammar In English - Contractions

If you hear the word Contraction and you have no context to the conversation, then you would probably think about pregnancy and giving birth. However, this is Adept English and we are talking about basic English grammar today, specifically English language contractions.

Contractions are really just a way of shortening common verb forms, it is is faster to use them when speaking as it helps English conversations flow more naturally. So it’s (which is a contraction) no surprise that when speaking English we use contractions because English speakers like to cut corners and take shortcuts when in conversation.

Unfortunately for new English language learners this can be a pain, as not only do you need to learn the correct forms and grammar, you also need to understand the shortcuts being used by native English speakers. Now all of this would be terribly boring if I were to hand you a book and leave you to it, but that is not how we work at Adept English. All you need to do is put on some headphones and listen and learn your way to English language fluency.

If you want to learn more about why our approach to learning to speak English works so well, we have a full and free English language course that explains the 7 rules to Adept English, just sign up here and start getting the most out of our podcasts straight away.

Most Unusual Words:

Contractions
Inherited 
Context

Most common 3 word phrases:

PhraseCount
He’s, She’s, It’s3
Are Called Contractions2
Contractions In English2
All The Time2

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Transcript: Basics Of Grammar In English Managing Your Contractions

Hi there and welcome to this podcast from Adept English. If you’re enjoying our podcasts and you’re seeing some of the benefits of listening to English language as practice and learning, then make the journey to our website at adeptenglish.com and sign up for our free course, The Seven Rules of Adept English.

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This course gives you the fundamental principles that we use at Adept English and it will improve your English language learning by instructing you on exactly how to use the podcasts. It’s a video course, which is probably unusual for us. So all you need to do is put your email address in and subscribe. And you will get the course in your e-mail inbox, over the course of seven days. It’s well worth doing and again, lots more free English language practice.

What type of ‘contractions’ are we talking?

Let’s do some work today on what are called ‘contractions’ in English. You may not know this term, this word, but you will be familiar with contractions. Or at least, I hope so because we use them all the time. Hmm...another use for the word ‘contractions’ is when a woman is about to give birth! The pains, the muscle spasms are called ‘contractions’.

But that’s not what I’m talking about here. Contractions in English language? I use them in podcasts all the time, because it’s part of the natural way of speaking English that native speakers use. In fact, there we are. I said ‘It’s part of the natural way of speaking English’ – ‘it’s’ is a contraction. It’s a contracted form of ‘it is’, spelt I-T-’-S. So there you have it, that’s a contraction.

Video

English contractions can be confusing

So these contractions are used with the really common verb forms – especially of the verb ‘to have’ and the verb ‘to be’. In fact, when you learn the verb ‘to have’ and the verb ‘to be’ right at the beginning of your language learning, if your purpose is to be able to speak English, then really you would be better learning the contracted form from the beginning as well.

So as well as learning ‘I have, you have, he has, she has, it has, we have, they have’, you would learn ‘I’ve, you’ve, he’s, she’s, it’s, we’ve and they’ve’ because these forms are what we actually say in conversation. And if you’re (oops there’s another and another one in ‘there’s!)...if you’re learning the verb ‘to be’, then as well as learning ‘I am, you are, he is, she is, it is, we are, they are’, you do also need to learn ‘I’m, you’re, he’s, she’s, it’s, we’re’ and ‘they’re’ as well. If you’re finding this confusing, then listening to the podcast with a transcript, the written words in front of you would be perhaps easier. You can find the transcript on our website at adeptenglish.com – or you can listen to this with subtitles on YouTube.

He’s, she’s, it’s – ‘to be’ or ‘to have’?

So of course, the verb ‘to be’ and the verb ‘to have’ in English are very important in their own right. But we also use them for other tenses – so they matter for all verbs. ‘I’ve been eating lots of carrots this autumn’, or ‘You’ve really made me feel happy today’. So these are very, very common contractions that pop up all the time. And in those two examples I’ve just given you, they’re there because we’re using past tense for the verbs ‘to eat’ – ‘I’ve been eating lots of carrots this autumn’ and ‘to make’ – ‘You’ve made me feel really happy today’.

And it can be confusing – you’ll notice of course that the ‘he, she, it’ form of both the verb ‘to be’ and the verb ‘to have’ are the same. ‘He’s, she’s it’s’. So you have to know from the context which one you’re dealing with. What also can be confusing is that the contraction for ‘I had’ is the same as the contraction for ‘I would’ – ‘I’d’ - and that’s carried through, all parts of the verb. So as well as ‘I had, you had, he had’ etc. and ‘I would, you would, he would’ – it’s good to also know ‘I’d, you’d, he’d, she’d it’d, we’d and they’d’ as well.

Future tense contractions and the apostrophe

And of course, the future tense, which you’ll know goes ‘I will, you will, he will, she will, it will, we will, they will’, you also need to learn the contracted forms of these which are ‘I’ll, you’ll, he’ll, she’ll, it’ll, we’ll, they’ll’ for spoken English. And as well as recognising them when you hear them, it’s a good idea to be able to spell them too, with the apostrophe in the right place.

The apostrophe, A-P-O-S-T-R-O-P-H-E is the little mark which sits in place of the missed out letters, when you come to write down spoken English. So it is worth practising these. Notice I said ‘It is worth practising these’? The reason I didn’t do a contraction there – because I was emphasising the verb. So you might still do that in spoken English.

Contractions indicate an informal style as well as spoken English

Of course, we don’t just use contractions if we’re writing down literally what someone says. We use contractions in informal, conversational style, even when it’s written down. So if you listen to my podcasts, and follow the written words at the same time, you’ll notice that I use this contracted style.

This is because it’s informal and friendly – I’m ‘aving a chat with you! But it’s also because it’s important to be able to use these, so it’s good for practice because this is authentic English. It would feel unnatural for me to do the non-contracted forms, the long form in a spoken podcast. And people use this form sometimes when they’re just writing as well, to indicate informality.

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’Had’ or ‘would’ contraction - practice exercise

There are lots of other contractions in English, but these ones I’m covering today are the most common ones. So how about we do some practice with some of these? You may be really quite familiar with these common verb forms. But how about we practise the ones that look and sound the same for different common verbs?

Download The Podcast Audio & Transcript

Solve The Maths Problem To Download Podcast & Transcript

So ‘he’d’ could mean ‘he had’ or ‘he would’ and you’d only know which it was from the context. So I’ll give you some sentences – and you can either use this podcast to practise mirroring my pronunciation, so say the sentence after me. Or another way to use this exercise, you could practise writing down what I say. But also, for each sentence, say or write down the full, non-contracted version. I’ll give you an example of what I mean to start. So this is our:-

HAD or WOULD Exercise

Example: I'd better go home now. So there, is the ‘I’d’ meaning ‘I had’ or ‘I would’?
Another Example: I'd already have reached home, before it was dark. Does the ‘I’d’ mean ‘I had’ or ‘I would’?

Get the idea? So you can either use this to practise writing or use it for pronunciation practise. I’ll say them twice.

  1. It’d be difficult to work out the answer, without seeing the question. It’d be difficult to work out the answer, without seeing the question.
  2. We’d better hurry up, if we want to go out tonight. We’d better hurry up, if we want to go out tonight.
  3. She’d like to have a pint of beer, please. She’d like to have a pint of beer, please.
  4. He’d had enough beer. He’d had enough beer.
  5. I’d have preferred lager. I’d have preferred lager.
  6. I’d also had enough beer. I’d also had enough beer.
  7. You’d better wake up and smell the coffee. You’d better wake up and smell the coffee.
  8. My parents are old. They’d rather not drive over in the dark. My parents are old. They’d rather not drive over in the dark.
  9. It’d been such a long day, I was really tired. It’d been such a long day, I was really tired.
  10. You’d never guess what happened to me last night? You’d never guess what happened to me last night?
  11. We’d prefer it if you didn’t tell anybody what you saw. We’d prefer it if you didn’t tell anybody what you saw.
  12. They’d inherited a very large house. They’d inherited a very large house.
  13. He’d manage a very small pie, but a portion of chips would be too much. He’d manage a very small pie, but a portion of chips would be too much.
  14. She’d not noticed that there was a cat in the house. She’d not noticed that there was a cat in the house.

OK, so for each of those sentences, there’s a contraction, which might be a ‘had’ or a ‘would’ – see if you can work out which it is. And of course, use them for practising speaking and pronunciation and for writing practice. Listen a number of times to this podcast to make sure that you understand the content, the actual lesson as well. It’s worth learning and very useful to your understanding of spoken English. And of course – to your speaking as well – then you can use these contractions. The answers are in the transcript – you’ll find them at the bottom of the transcript - whether it’s ‘had’ or ‘would’.

HAD or WOULD Exercise – The Answers!

  1. It’d be difficult to work out the answer, without seeing the question. (IT WOULD)
  2. We’d better hurry up, if we want to go out tonight. (WE HAD)
  3. She’d like to have a pint of beer, please. (SHE WOULD)
  4. He’d had enough beer. (HE HAD)
  5. I’d have preferred lager. (I WOULD)
  6. I’d also had enough beer. (I HAD)
  7. You’d better wake up and smell the coffee. (YOU HAD).
  8. My parents are old. They’d rather not drive over in the dark. (THEY WOULD).
  9. It’d been such a long day, I was really tired. (IT HAD).
  10. You’d never guess what happened to me last night? (YOU WOULD)
  11. We’d prefer it if you didn’t tell anybody what you saw. (WE WOULD).
  12. They’d inherited a very large house. (THEY HAD)
  13. He’d managed a small pie, but a portion of chips would be too much (HE WOULD).
  14. She’d not noticed that there was a cat in the house. (SHE HAD)

Goodbye

Anyway, enough for now. Have a lovely day. Speak to you again soon. Goodbye.

Founder

Hilary

@adeptenglish.com

The voice of Adeptenglish, loves English and wants to help people who want to speak English fluently.
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