Usage Notes

On Contractions of Multiple Words

You all would not have guessed some of these


play contractions
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Featuring: Serenity Carr
Everyone knows contractions like didn't and would've, but what about more complicated ones? Editor Serenity Carr takes a look at situations where as many as five words can be contracted at the same time.


Transcript:

You're probably familiar with regular contractions made with two words like you'd and didn't. And you've probably even used contractions with three words like she'd've and wouldn't've. I'd've thought they'd've been familiar to you and you wouldn't've been surprised to hear them.

But can we contract more than three words? More than four? You'dn't've guessed they're possible, but they are. Many are dialectal or regional. Y'all'll've heard them from Southerners in places like Texas or Georgia, where they'dn't've thought twice about using them. We could've guessed at more, but at some point y'all'dn't've been able to understand them anyway.

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