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Informal Contractions

Informal contractions are short forms of other words that people use when speaking casually. They are not exactly slang, but they are a little like slang.

For example, "gonna" is a short form of "going to". If you say "going to" very fast, without carefully pronouncing each word, it can sound like "gonna".

Please remember that these are informal contractions. That means that we do not use them in "correct" speech, and we almost never use them in writing. (If you see them in writing, for example in a comic strip, that is because the written words represent the spoken words or dialogue.) We normally use them only when speaking fast and casually, for example with friends. Some people never use them, even in informal speech.

It is probably true to say that informal contractions are more common in American English.

Also note that, unlike normal contractions, we do not usually use apostrophes (') with informal contractions when written.

Listed below are some common informal contractions, with example sentences. Note that the example sentences may be a little artificial because when we use a contraction we may also use other contractions in the same sentence, or even drop some words completely. For example:

  • What are you going to do? >>
  • Whatcha going to do? >>
  • Whatcha gonna do?

or

  • Do you want a beer?
  • Do you wanna beer?
  • D'you wanna beer?
  • D'ya wanna beer?
  • Ya wanna beer?
  • Wanna beer?
These informal contractions are not "correct" English. Do not use them in a written exam, for example, except in appropriate situations.
  • ain't = am not/are not/is not
    I ain't sure.
    You ain't my boss.
  • ain't = has not/have not
    I ain't done it.
    She ain't finished yet.

  • gimme = give me
    Gimme your money.
    Don't gimme that rubbish.
    Can you gimme a hand?

  • gonna = going to
    Nothing's gonna change my love for you.
    I'm not gonna tell you.
    What are you gonna do?

  • gotta = (have) got a
    I've gotta gun.
    I gotta gun.
    She hasn't gotta penny.
    Have you gotta car?
  • gotta = (have) got to
    I've gotta go now.
    I gotta go now.
    We haven't gotta do that.
    Have they gotta work?

  • kinda = kind of
    She's kinda cute.

  • lemme = let me
    Lemme go!

  • wanna = want to
    I wanna go home.

  • wanna = want a
    I wanna coffee.

  • whatcha = what are you
    Whatcha going to do?
  • whatcha = what have you
    Whatcha got there?

  • ya = you
    Who saw ya?


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