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A contraction is a shortened form of two words. One or more letters are omitted and an apostrophe (’) is used in place of the letters left out. A contraction is formed by combining pronouns and the verbs am, is, are, will, would, have, has, and had.


Pronoun + verb Contraction Pronoun + verb Contraction

I am I’m I have I’ve

He is he’s he has he’s

It is it’s it has it’s

You are you’re you have you’ve

They are they’re they have they’ve

I will I’ll I had I’d

You will you’ll you had you’d

We would we’d we had we’d


(1) Some contractions look the same but are formed from different words.

Examples: he is, he has = he’s

We had, we would = we’d

(2) Some possessive pronouns sound like contractions.

Because the words sound alike, they are sometimes confused.

Examples: Possessive pronouns Contractions

Its, it’s

Your, you’re

Their, they’re

Whose. who’s

Incorrect: The team celebrated it’s victory.

Correct: The team celebrated its victory.

Incorrect: Your late for the preps.

Correct: You’re late for the preps.

Incorrect: Whose the fastest runner in the world?

Correct: Who’s the fastest runner in the world?


Rules of using possessive pronouns and contractions correctly

  1. If the word you want to use stands for two words, it is a contraction and needs an apostrophe.
  2. Never use an apostrophe in a possessive pronoun.

Exercise 5

Write the contractions for the following word pairs.

Example: It has = it’s

  1. You will 3. He had 5. You have
  2. We would 4. I am 6. they will

Exercise 6

What pronoun and verb make up each of the following contractions?

Example: It’s = it is, it has

  1. I’ll 3. You’d
  2. They’re
  3. We’re 4. He’s
  4. She’d

Exercise 7

Choose the correct word given in brackets in the following sentences.

  1. The Cameroon government has worked hard to improve (its, it’s) educational system.
  2. (Whose, Who’s) going to decide where the guests will sleep?
  3. (Their, they’re) learning French their school.
  4. Only students (whose, who’s) scores are excellent will join national schools.
  5. (Its, It’s) been estimated that about 8 million Kenyans are living with HIV AIDS.


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