Last revised by Joshua Yap on 5 Apr 2023

Contractions are commonly found in English speech, and is the term for words where apostrophes are used to denote absent letters, e.g. "it's", "don't", and "you're".

However, in written English, and therefore Radiopaedia we generally prefer the non-contracted form, e.g. "cannot" instead of "can't", "we would" instead of "we'd", etc.

NB: "its" is not a contraction but the possessive form of the word "it".

English contractions

This is an alphabetical list of contractions in spoken English, followed by the non-contracted form which is what we would prefer to appear in Radiopaedia articles and cases. Occasional forms can denote two different forms and it is "usually" possible to work out from the context which one was meant.

The only exception to removing contractions is when a contraction appears in quoted speech (rare) or the title of a referenced article.

  • aren't: are not

  • can't: cannot

  • could've: could have

  • couldn't: could not

  • didn't: did not

  • doesn't: does not

  • don't: do not

  • hadn't: had not

  • hasn't: has not

  • haven't: have not

  • he'd: he had or he would

  • he'll: he will

  • he's: he has or he is

  • how's: how has or how is

  • I'd: I had or I would

  • I'll: I will

  • I'm: I am

  • I've: I have

  • isn't: is not

  • it'd: it had or it would

  • it'll: it will

  • it's: it has or it is

  • let's: let us

  • must've: must have

  • oughtn't: ought not

  • shan't: shall not

  • she'd: she had or she would

  • she'll: she will

  • should've: should have

  • shouldn't: should not

  • something's: something has or something is

  • that'll: that will

  • that's: that has or that is

  • there'd: there had or there would

  • there're: there are

  • there's: there has or there is

  • they'd: they had or they would

  • they'll: they will

  • they're: they are

  • they've: they have

  • wasn't: was not

  • we'd: we had or we would

  • we'll: we will

  • we're: we are

  • we've: we have

  • weren't: were not

  • what'll: what will

  • what's: what has or what is

  • when's: when has or when is

  • where'd: where did

  • where'll: where will

  • where's: where has or where is

  • who'd: who had or who would

  • who're: who are

  • who's: who has or who is

  • who've: who have

  • why'd: why did

  • won't: will not

  • would've: would have

  • wouldn't: would not

  • you'd: you had or you would

  • you'll: you will

  • you're: you are

  • you've: you have

This list is non-exhaustive, please feel free to add any omissions.

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