It’s no secret that here at Wannalisn we LOVE contractions, and we LOVE teaching how to learn them! They are the key to sounding natural when we speak in English, and also to understanding fast speakers. 

If you have already downloaded our free app, you’ll know we pay special attention to them, often including short and long forms in our clips and exercises.


In today’s post, we are going to teach you how to learn contractions, including what they are and when and when not to use them. After that, you’ll need to practice, practice, practice! You can click right here to download the Wannalisn app for free and test your contractions knowledge while having fun.


What are contractions?

The clue is in the name! A contraction refers to something that has been made smaller, as the verb ‘contract’ means ‘the process of becoming smaller’. So what becomes smaller in this case? The words we are using!

Contractions or ‘short forms’ are nothing more than two words merged or ‘contracted’ into one short word.


Most contractions tend to combine:

  • A pronoun or a noun + a verb: I’m (I am), You’re (You are)
  • A verb + a negation (not) : Isn’t (Is not), Aren’t (Are not)
  • Auxiliary verbs: Shouldn’t (Should not)
  • Be and have : Haven’t (Have not)


Learn how to form contractions

We form contractions by omitting certain letters when we combine the two words in question, writing an apostrophe in its place. 

Make sure you put the apostrophe in the correct place, so always double-check!


For example: 

I am not: I’m not

She is not: She isn’t

You must not:You mustn’t

They will: They’ll

It is: it’s 


When to use them

Be careful, because we can’t use contractions all the time! There is a time and a place to use contractions correctly. 


We use contractions in speech, as we omit letters naturally while speaking. A lot of the time we do this without even realizing it!

Contractions are often used in informal writing in most situations. Nowadays it is extremely common to write using contractions. 

We shouldn’t use contractions in formal writing, so keep an eye out!


Practice contractions anytime, anyplace. 

If you need to practice contractions and you want to do it in a fun and entertaining way, give our free Wannalisn app a try!

Click here to download the app and learn real English used in context, thanks to thousands of clips from your favourite movies, series and songs that we use to teach you different parts of the English language, including contractions!


If you feel like sticking around and learning some more, why not check out our amazing method to learn Phrasal verbs? Click here to check it out.