Grammar. 16.11.2010
Grammar Teacher

Informal Contractions

Автор: Grammar Teacher
           Have you seen words like "gonna" or "wanna" and wondered what they mean? Perhaps you have looked up these expressions in a dictionary and been unable to find them. That's because these words are "informal contractions" or short forms of other words that people use when speaking informally. Like many languages, over time these words have been developed mainly because they are easier and quicker to say. They are not exactly slang, but they are a little like slang. In fact, if you look in a big dictionary, you will usually find them.
Normal contraction like don’t, can’t, and I’m must have apostrophes; however, informal contractions will not use apostrophes when written. The sentence ‘Watcha gonna do?’ has two informal contractions. ‘Watcha’is short for ‘what are you’ while ‘gonna’ is a shortened version of ‘going to. ’When said aloud you can hear the difference between the two different sentences.
It is your choice whether to use informal contractions in your own speech or not. But as a listener of English, you really need to be able to understand people who use them, and nearly every native speaker does. It is probably true to say that informal contractions are more common in American English. You will hear these words everywhere from informal conversations in a coffee shop or anywhere else to on TV and in movies, and even now being used by the broadcasters for American news.
Here are some of the most common informal contractions, with example sentences:
1.
GIMME = give me
·      Gimme your money.
·      Don't gimme that rubbish.
·      Can you gimme a hand?
2.
GONNA = going to
·      Nothing's gonna change my love for you.
·      I'm not gonna tell you.
·      What are you gonna do?
3. (a)
GOTTA = (have) got a
·      I've gotta gun.
·      I gotta gun.
·      She hasn't gotta penny
·      Have you gotta car?
3. (b)
GOTTA = (have) got to
 
·      I've gotta go now.
·      I gotta go now.
·      We haven't gotta do that.
·      Have they gotta work?
4.
INIT = isn't it
 
·      That's smart, init?
·      Init strange?
5
KINDA = kind of
·      She's kinda cute.
·      Are you kinda mad at me?
6
LEMME = let me
 
·      Lemme go!
·      He didn't lemme see it.
7. (a)
WANNA = want to
·      I wanna go home.
·      I don't wanna go.
·      Do you wanna watch TV?
7. (b)
WANNA = want a
 
·      I wanna coffee.
·      I don't wanna thing from you
·       Do you wanna beer?
8. (a)
AIN'T am not/
are not/is not
·      I ain't sure.
·      You ain't my boss.
8. (b)
AIN'T = has not/have not
·      I ain't done it.
·      She ain't finished yet.
9.
YA = you
 
·      Who saw ya?

            In my view, the contraction AIN’T here deserves more attention. Although widely disapproved as nonstandard and more common in the habitual speech of the less educated, AIN'T is flourishing in American English. It is used in both speech and writing to catch attention and to gain emphasis as in "Ain't that a crying shame," or "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."
 
Here come more of notable examples:
 
"Ain't I a Woman?", 1851 speech by abolitionist Sojourner Truth.
"Say it ain't so, Joe!", reportedly said by a young baseball fan to Shoeless Joe Jackson after the fan learned about the Black Sox scandal involving throwing the 1919 World Series.
"It Ain't Necessarily So", song from Porgy and Bess (1935);
"You ain't heard nothing yet!" spoken by Al Jolson in The Jazz Singer, the first feature-length motion picture with synchronized dialogue sequences.
"The opera ain’t over until the fat lady sings", generally attributed to San Antonio News-Express sportswriter Dan Cook.
"Ain't She Sweet", popular 1927 song by Milton Ager (music) and Jack Yellen (lyrics).
"You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet", 1974 song by Bachman-Turner Overdrive, and a quote by British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher toward Ronald Reagan.
 
In the following video you’ll see a detailed explanation of the usage of this contraction:
 

Also note that the sentences above may be rather 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:

 
Dunno: is the combination of the words don't + know.
"I dunno how to speak Japanese."
Lotta and lotsa are combinations of the words lot of or lots of.
"There are lotsa grammar rules for English."
Wheredja is the combination of the words where + did + you.
"I love your shoes. Wheredja get them?"
Whadja is the combination of the words what + did + you.
 "Whadja have for dinner last night."
Howdja is the combination of how + did + you.
"Howdja like the movie?“
 
Like I said before, it is truly your choice to use or not use these words. But if you choose to use, remember, informal contractions have their proper place. The majority of the time you won’t use an informal contraction when writing, but there are exceptions. When reading a comic strip, you can see a character saying an informal contraction. In this type of situation it makes the story itself more believable. So if you are involved in fictional writing, you may use words like GONNA or AIN’T in conversation between characters, in dialog just to make your story sound fresher.
 
But if you are involved in writing an essay, writing for business or delivering a speech, the reality is that informal contractions should be avoided at all costs. Once again the one area in which you really will have an opportunity to use these writing devices is when you are creating dialog for characters in a fictional setting.
 
And now just check out the lyrics of one well-known song and you’ll be fascinated by how often contractions both formal and informal are used in it! 
 
It's My Life by Bon Jovi
 
This ain't a song for the brokenhearted
No silent prayer for the faith departed
And I ain't gonna be just a face in the crowd
You're gonna hear my voice when I shout it out loud
 
It's my life
It's now or never
I ain't gonna live forever
I just wanna live while I'm alive
 
(It's my life)
My heart is like an open highway
Like Frankie said, "I did it my way"
I just wanna live while I'm alive
'Cause it's my life
 
This is for the ones who stood their ground
For Tommy and Gina who never backed down
Tomorrow's getting harder, make no mistake
Luck ain't even lucky, gotta make your own breaks…
 
 
 
WANNA be on close terms with English? Then you GOTTA stay with Green Forest!
 
Your humble servant
Grammar Teacher!
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