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List of Contractions

A contraction shortens words by replacing one or more letters with an apostrophe. Many reading curriculums introduce this concept in second grade. Our reading program expects a second grade student to use an apostrophe to form both contractions and frequently occurring possessives.


The following words are commonly used to form contractions.

am are have is, has
will or shall would, had us not

Contractions Lesson Plans

When possible, make learning new things entertaining. My daughter came home the other day so excited to tell me about the apostrophe fairy; he’s a close relative of the tooth fairy. She brought home a booklet that used both a fictional character and a story to reinforce the use of apostrophes in both contractions and possessives. It’s a great story that can be used when teaching contractions to help a child grasp and retain the concept.

Mr. Apostrophe, a tiny elf, enjoyed eating letters. Every time he ate a letter (or two) he would accidently leave his little curved finger print (an apostrophe).

If Mr. Apostrophe came upon the words let us, he would eat the letter “u” resulting in the word let’s. As you tell the story write down let’s and have your child or class locate his “finger print”?

Similarly if he came upon the words we will, he would eat both the letter “w” and “i” resulting in the word we’ll. Consider writing down the words, “we will” and then erase the letters that when removed form the contraction, we’ll.

Mr. Apostrophe began feeling guilty about taking letters that did not belong to him. So he decided to give the people he knew some gifts. He did not eat these letters but he did leave his little curved finger print.

  • He left the townspeople books for their school. He wrote on the note, “School’s books.” Note: his curved finger print is between the “l” and “s.”
  • He sent flowers to his teacher. He wrote on the note, “Mrs. B’s flowers.” As you tell the story write down Mrs. B’s flowers and have your child or class locate his “finger print.”
  • He also drew a picture for his favorite bus driver. He wrote on the note, Mr. Smiths’ picture.”

List of Contractions

I am I’m Example: I’m a girl.

You are you’re Example: You’re funny.
We are we’re Example: We’re family.
They are they’re Example: They’re going to the store.
Who are who’re Example: Who’re you?

I have I’ve Example: I’ve had too much fun.
You have you’ve Example: You’ve been a good friend.
We have we’ve Example: We’ve been to the park.
They have they’ve Example: They’ve been on the swings.
Could have could’ve Example: He could’ve caught a cold.
Would have would’ve Example: We would’ve worn a coat.
Should have should’ve Example: She should’ve put on a hat.
Might have might’ve Example: I might’ve asked another question.
Who have who’ve Example: Who’ve you spoken to?
There have there’ve Example: There’ve been a number of calls today.

He is/ has he’s Example: He’s a nice boy.
She is/ has she’s Example: She’s a nice girl.
It is/ has it’s Example: It’s a nice day.
What is/ has what’s Example: What’s for dinner?
That is/ has that’s Example: That’s good news.
Who is/ has who’s Example: Who’s cooking tonight?
There is/has there’s Example: There’s no food in the house.
Here is/has here’s Example: Here’s a bunch of take out menus.
One is/has one’s Example: One’s plenty.

I will I’ll Example: I’ll see you soon.
You will you’ll Example: You’ll be on time, right?
She will she’ll Example: She’ll be late.
He will he’ll Example: He’ll be early.
It will it’ll Example: It’ll be here soon.
We will we’ll Example: We’ll see you later.
They will they’ll Example: They’ll get there first.
That will that’ll Example: That’ll be great.
There will there’ll Example: There’ll be lots to see.
This will this’ll Example: This’ll be fun.
What will what’ll Example: What’ll we do?
Who will who’ll Example: Who’ll be there?

I would/ had I’d Example: I’d like a glass of water.
You would/ had you’d Example: You’d prefer juice?
He would/ had he’d Example: He’d like a soda.
She would/ had she’d Example: She’d like milk.
We would/ had we’d Example: We’d like it soon.
They would/ had they’d Example: They’d like something to eat.
It would/ had it’d Example: It’d be difficult.
There would/ had there’d Example: There’d be a little delay.
What would/ had what’d Example: What’d you expect?
Who would/ had who’d Example: Who’d have known?
That would/ had that’d Example: That’d be great.

Let us let’s Example: Let’s help our teacher.

Negative Contractions

Cannot can’t Example: I can’t open the door.
Do not don’t Example: Don’t move.
Is not isn’t Example: It isn’t safe.
Will not won’t Example: I won’t enter.
Should not shouldn’t Example: I shouldn’t go first.
Could not couldn’t Example: I couldn’t be second.
Would not wouldn’t Example: I wouldn’t want to be third.
Are not aren’t Example: Aren’t you coming?
Does not doesn’t Example: He doesn’t want to go.
Was not wasn’t Example: He wasn’t kidding.
Were not weren’t Example: They weren’t afraid.
Has not hasn’t Example: He hasn’t responded yet.
Have not haven’t Example: I haven’t got a clue.
Had not hadn’t Example: I hadn’t thought of that.
Must not mustn’t Example: I mustn’t get too upset.
Did not didn’t Example: He didn’t know.
Might not mightn’t Example: I mightn’t do it next year.
Need not needn’t Example: You needn’t worry about that today.

Source: Fry, E.B., Ph.D. & Kress, J.E., Ed.D. (2006). The Reading Teacher’s Book of Lists 5th Edition. San Francisco, CA: Jossey Bass.

7 comments… add one
  • This is great info – TY!


  • Best of the best

  • This will be so helpful instructing ESL. Thank you very much

  • Thanks,It is very helpful

  • I really appreciate this. Well done.

  • Thanks this really helps


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