A contraction is a shortened form of a word or phrase. An apostrophe takes the place of the omitted letters. Although many stylebooks discourage contractions, when used appropriately they can be an effective tool in establishing the conversational tone we seek in our magazines.

Contractions are formed by combining pronouns with verbs …
I’m hungry (I am)
She’s angry (She is)

… or auxiliary verbs.
They’ll arrive tomorrow (They will)
They won’t arrive tomorrow (They will not)

Note: Avoid use of clumsy contractions, such as it’ll and that’ll.

Do not combine nouns and verbs to form contractions because the contraction may be mistaken for a possessive or may result in poor grammar.
The coffee is ready (not coffee’s).
John will leave next week (not John’ll).


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