Published: 12th October 2019
Your or You're: How and where to use contractions in your sentences
When we read novels or plays, we come across dialogues that contain contractions. Scriptwriters use contractions in their dialogues to reveal the attitudes of characters.
John’s wife, Mary, sent him a text that read, “Your great”. As soon as he received the message, John wrote back, “No, you’re great.” Mary was on the top of the world when she received the message. Later, in the evening when John came back home after work, he noticed that his wife was in high spirits. When he asked her why she thanked him for the wonderful text: “No, you’re great.” John smiled and replied, “Mary, I corrected your grammar in the text you had sent me this morning.” ‘Your great’ is wrong and ‘You’re great’ is correct. ‘You’re’ is a contraction of ‘you are’.
A contraction is ‘two words made shorter by placing an apostrophe where letters have been omitted’. Here are examples: I’m = I am, you’re = you are, can’t = cannot, isn’t = is not, should’ve = should have, couldn’t = could not, won’t = will not. We use contractions mainly while speaking. Let me discuss the importance of using contractions. Contractions can function as a stylistic tool. Contractions are synonymous with flowing and easy style. If we want to sound friendly, personal and informal, we can use contractions in our writings — texts, emails and letters. The receiver of our message feels that the sender is talking to them. While sending friendly messages, we use colloquial expressions. Look at this example:
Hi, Terry. We’re gonna visit your mom tomorrow. She’ll be happy to see us. Hope she’s doing well.
Don’t feel like going to college tomorrow. Can’t imagine how you ….
When we read novels or plays, we come across dialogues that contain contractions. Scriptwriters use contractions in their dialogues to reveal the attitudes of characters. Here is an example from the movie Titanic:
Rose: I love you, Jack.
Jack: Don’t you do that, don’t say your good-byes. Not yet, do you understand me?
Rose: I’m so cold.
Jack: Listen, Rose. You’re gonna get out of here, you’re gonna go on and you’re gonna make lots of babies, and you’re gonna watch them grow.
The contractions in the dialogue above make it very natural and effective.
Nowadays, Twitterati use contractions in their tweets to reduce the number of characters. Here is a tweet that contains contractions:
We’re super excited about this year’s @ReimagineHEdu! It’s the most differentiated education conference we’ve seen.
Some homophone contractions such as ‘it’s’ and ‘its’, ‘they’re’ and ‘their’ or ‘there’ can cause confusion. What is the difference between ‘it’s’ and ‘its’? ‘It’s’ is a contraction for ‘it is’ or ‘it has’ whereas ‘its’ is a possessive pronoun. Examples:
It’s going to rain now. (It is…)
It’s been a long time since I met her. (It has…)
See how the puppy wags its tail. (possessive)
We say that the dog wags its tail. What is the meaning of the expression ‘the tail is wagging the dog’? When we say that the tail is wagging the dog, we mean that something insignificant becomes too important and controls the whole thing.
She’s quite a manipulator. Don’t know why the tail is wagging the dog.