since 1997, the world's premier FREE website for learners + teachers of English


A contraction is an abbreviation where a bit of the full word has been cut out from inside, like this:

D[octo]r Dr

Sometimes more than one bit has been cut out from inside:

L[imi]t[e]d Ltd

And sometimes bits are cut out from inside more than one word:

you[ ha]'ve you've

Here are some more examples:

contraction full form
dept department
ft foot, feet
govt government
Revd Reverend
St Saint
Blvd Boulevard
mfg manufacturing
can't cannot
let's let us
she'd've she would have


Some people put a full stop at the end (govt., Revd.) but strictly speaking there is no need because the last letter of the contraction is the same as the last letter of the full form (govt, Revd).

In contractions of more than one word, the missing letters are replaced by an apostrophe (can't, she'd've).


Some contractions are written contractions designed to save space in text. We almost always pronounce these in full—the same as the full form.

write: dept - ft - govt - Revd - St - Blvd - mfg

say: department - foot or feet - government - Reverend - Saint - Boulevard - manufacturing

Other contractions are spoken contractions designed to save time and effort in speaking. The written version is simply mimicking the spoken version.

say and write: can't - let's - she'd've

contraction (noun): Contractions are a type of abbreviation in which letters from the middle of the word are omitted. - Oxford Dictionaries