A contraction is a shortened form of a word (or group of words) that omits certain letters or sounds. In most contractions, an apostrophe represents the missing letters. The most common contractions are made up of verbs, auxiliaries, or modals attached to other words: He would=He’d. I have=I’ve. They are=They’re. You cannot=You can’t.
People use contractions in both speaking and writing. They're so common that movies and books often try to make characters seem old-fashioned or strange by having them never use contractions. This is a little silly because English speakers have been using contractions for centuries—although not always the same ones we use today.
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