Contractions

Using Apostrophes to Create Contractions

"To those who care about punctuation, a sentence such as 'Thank God its Friday' (without the apostrophe) rouses feelings not only of despair but of violence. The confusion of the possessive 'its' (no apostrophe) with the contractive 'it's' (with apostrophe) is an unequivocal signal of illiteracy and sets off a Pavlovian 'kill' response in the average sticklet." ~Lynne Truss, author of Eats, Shoots & LeavesApostrophes are also used in contractions where the apostrophe takes the place of letters that are omitted when you join two words. Here are some examples:

I am = I’m
you are = you’re
it is = it’s
did not = didn’t

You can also use an apostrophe to stand in for omitted numbers.

I was born in ’75, and I’m feeling old.

It’s important to note that contractions and using apostrophes to stand in for omitted numbers is generally considered too informal for formal, academic writing.

Some students wonder why they should bother learning these rules, then. The answer is that there are plenty of writing situations where contractions are appropriate. It’s just that contractions are too informal for most of the formal papers you write for college and should be avoided in those situations.

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