In part one of this post, we looked at multiple contractions, ambiguous contractions, the contractive apostrophe, and n't (the contracted form of not). Here we continue our review of words that can be clipped, compressed, and combined.
- Contracted Nouns and Pronouns
In casual conversation, contractions involving nouns are fairly common ("My dad'll be home soon"), but in writing they're much rarer than contractions with pronouns.
- Negative Contractions and Verb Contractions
We can say "It isn't raining." Or "It's not raining." But we can't say *"It'sn't raining." In negative clauses, we often have a choice between contracting not (n't) and contracting the pronoun and verb (it's). But we can't do both.
- Contractions in Tag Questions
A tag question is a short question added to the end of a declarative sentence, usually to make sure that something has been done or understood: "It's a tag question, isn't it?" Because of their colloquial nature, negative tags are commonly contracted: didn't we? haven't you? aren't they?
- Aphaeresis, Syncope, and Apocope
Another common type of linguistic shortening (or elision) is the omission of certain sounds or letters from an individual word. In phonetics, elision at the beginning of a word (for instance, gator from alligator) is called aphaeresis; in the middle of a word (ma'am from madam), syncope; and at the end of a word (ad from advertisement), apocope. Aphaeresis and apocope can occur together, as in flu--a clipped form of influenza.
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