Advertisements

Grammar Books

English Grammar

Short Forms (Contracted Forms) in English

To be | To do | To have | Can | Could | Must | Shall | Should | Will | Would | Let's
Flash cards

The long and the short of it

Verb conjugation and contraction - in other words; "The short form".

In spoken English we use the short form a lot. Instead of "I am" we say, "I'm". "You are" becomes "you're". "Did not" - "didn't" etc.

We also use these short forms in informal written English. When we write the short form, we use an apostrophe (') for the missing letter(s).

Here are the short forms of the auxiliary verbs to be, to do and to have:-

To be - Simple Present Form
Positive Statement Negative Statement
Long form Short form Long form Short form
I am I'm I am not I'm not
He is He's He is not He isn't or He's not
She is She's She is not She isn't or She's not
It is It's It is not It isn't or It's not
You are You're You are not You aren't or You're not
We are We're We are not We aren't or We're not
They are They're They are not They're not
To be - Simple Past Form
Positive Statement Negative Statement
Long form Short form Long form Short form
I was
---
I was not I wasn't
He was He was not He wasn't
She was She was not She wasn't
It was It was not It wasn't
You were You were not You weren't
We were We were not We weren't
They were They were not They weren't
To do - Simple Present Form
Positive Statement Negative Statement
Long form Short form Long form Short form
I do
---
I do not I don't
He does He does not He doesn't
She does She does not She doesn't
It does It does not It doesn't
You do You do not You don't
We do We do not We don't
They do They do not They don't
To do - Simple Past Form
Positive Statement Negative Statement
Long form Short form Long form Short form
I / he / she / it / you / we / they did
---
I / he / she / it / you / we / they did not I / he / she / it / you / we / they didn't
To have - Simple Present Form
Positive Statement Negative Statement
Long form Short form Long form Short form
I have I've I have not I haven't or I've not
He has He's He has not He hasn't or He's not
She has She's She has not She hasn't or She's not
It has It's It has not It hasn't or It's not
You have You've You have not You haven't or You've not
We have We've We have not We haven't or We've not
They have They've They have not They haven't or They've not
To have - Simple Past Form
Positive Statement Negative Statement
Long form Short form Long form Short form
I / he / she / it / you / we / they had I'd
he'd
she'd
it'd
you'd
we'd
they'd
I / he / she / it / you / we / they had not I hadn't or I'd not
he hadn't or he'd not
she hadn't or she'd not
it hadn't or it'd not
you hadn't or you'd not
we hadn't or we'd not
they hadn't or they'd not

!Note - We don't use the short form of be, will or have if it takes the final position in a sentence.

Up

The long and short forms of the modal verbs can, could, shall, should, must, will and would

Can
Positive Statement Negative Statement
Long form Short form Long form Short form
I / he / she / it / you / we / they can
---
I / he / she/ it / you / we / they cannot I / he / she / it / you / we / they can't
Could
Positive Statement Negative Statement
Long form Short form Long form Short form
I / he / she / it / you / we / they could
---
I / he / she/ it / you / we / they could not I / he / she / it / you / we / they couldn't
Must
Positive Statement Negative Statement
Long form Short form Long form Short form
I / he / she / it / you / we / they must
---
I / he / she/ it / you / we / they must not I / he / she / it / you / we / they mustn't
Shall
Positive Statement Negative Statement
Long form Short form Long form Short form
I / he / she / it / you / we / they shall
---
I / he / she/ it / you / we / they shall not I / he / she / it / you / we / they shan't
Should
Positive Statement Negative Statement
Long form Short form Long form Short form
I / he / she / it / you / we / they should
---

I / he / she / it / you / we / they should not

I / he / she / it / you / we / they shouldn't
Will
Positive Statement Negative Statement
Long form Short form Long form Short form
I / he / she / it / you / we / they will I'll
He'll
She'll
It'll
You'll
We'll
They'll
I / he / she / it / you / we / they will not I won't or I'll not
He won't or He'll not
She won't or She'll not
It won't or It'll not
You won't or You'll not
We won't or We'll not
They won't or They'll not
Would
Positive Statement Negative Statement
Long form Short form Long form Short form
I / he / she / it / you / we / they would I'd
He'd
She'd
It'd*
You'd
We'd
They'd
I / he / she / it / you / we / they would not I wouldn't or I'd not
He wouldn't or He'd not
She wouldn't or She'd not
It wouldn't or It'd not*
You wouldn't or You'd not
We wouldn't or We'd not
They wouldn't or They'd not
* Not "good" English, but you will hear occasionally.

The imperative

Let Us

Let us is a funny one. The only time I've ever heard the long form of "Let us..." used is when the vicar used to say "Let us pray." It's much more likely you'll hear or see the contracted form "let's". "Let's do this," no "Let's do that instead," and the sarcastic "Oh yes, let's."

Positive Statement Negative Statement
Long form - rarely used Short form Long form - used by pompous people Short form
Let us
Let's
Let us not Let's not

Sponsors

Teacher Karen Teacher Karen

Advertisements