Lesson Transcript

Hi, everybody! My name is Alisha. Welcome back to Top Words.
In this lesson, we're going to talk about 10 contractions you should be using. I recommend this because if you don't use the contracted forms of these words, you might sound a little stiff. So, to sound a little more natural, these are some good contractions for you to use.
Let's go!
1. dunno
The first contraction is "dunno."
Dunno, dunno, dunno.
So, "dunno" is a very casual contraction. It's not really like an official contraction, I suppose. You can write it D-U-N-N-O, but it means "don't know." "I don't know" sounds kind of stiff. I don't know. I do not know. But, "I dunno," it sounds much better. Native speakers usually say dunno instead of don't know or do not know.
In a sentence:
"I dunno, what do you wanna do?"
2. wanna
The next expression is "wanna."
So I use "wanna" in the previous example sentence. When I said, "I dunno, what do you wanna do?" "Wanna" is the, again, casual contraction of "want to." I want to do something. I don't want to do something. "Want to" becomes "wanna" in the kind of contracted form in speaking.
Keep in mind that although we can use "wanna" in like casual text, it's typically better to use "want to" in more formal text.
In a sentence:
"What do you wanna do this weekend?"
3. gotta
The next one is "gotta."
So, "gotta" is "got to," got to which means "have to." So, I've got to do something and I have to do something. But, actually, we have this expression, "I gotta" or "he's gotta" that we use instead of "I've got to" or "I have to." So, "gotta" expresses needs, like I gotta go. I gotta go.
So, in another sentence:
"I gotta go to work tomorrow."
4. I've
The next contraction is "I've."
"I've" is the contracted form of "I have," I have. And of course, this /ve/ sound can be attached to others as well, so like "I've," "she's" and "he's" takes an S sound, "they've, we've" as well. So it's this /ve/ sound in the contracted form which refers to the have or has ending as in the present perfect tense. So, I've, I've. Make sure to use this "I've" form instead of "I have" in your speech to sound more natural.
In a sentence:
"I've been so tired lately."
5. he's / she's
The next one, okay. So the next one is "he's" and "she's" which is the same as "he has" and "she has," but we can also use this as "he is" and "she is." So, depending on the grammar of the sentence, "he's" and "she's" could mean "he is" or "he has" and "she is" and "she has." So this means you need to pay attention to the grammar overall of the sentence.
For example, "He is funny." That sentence can be, "He's funny."
Or, "He's been on the phone all day" is "He has been on the phone all day."
How do we know which is which? In the first sentence, "He's funny," we see "He is…" and then "funny," an adjective follows that. That gives us a big hint that probably, the verb is "is" there, not "has."
In the other sentence, "He's been on the phone all day," we see the past participle form of "be ~ been." He has been, so we understand the S, apostrophe S, is actually "has" there, not "is."
So this is a great one to help you pay attention to the grammar of a sentence because "he's" and "she's" have the same contracted form, but different meanings, depending on the situation.
In another sentence:
"He's my best friend."
6. I'd
The next one is one that many people ask about, "I'd."
I've talked about this in Ask Alisha as well too, "I'd." Many people say they have trouble hearing "I'd" in a sentence like "I like beer" and "I'd like a beer," for example. How do you hear that? So, again, this is another situation where you need to pay attention to the grammar of the sentence. If you say, "I like beer," it's referring to your preference, "I like beer." However, if you are ordering at a restaurant, "I'd like…" refers to "I would like…" The contracted form of "I would" is "I'd." I would like a beer, please. So that's a request, an order.
So, "I'd" has a very different grammatical function than "I." Therefore, you need to listen to the entire sentence to understand the difference between "I" and "I'd" and when to use them. So I'd, I'd.
And, of course, with different subjects, "we'd, he'd, she'd, they'd," and so on, "you'd" as well. It's that, it's that kind of soft /d/ sound at the end there. So try to listen for that and, of course, try to use the contracted form too.
In a sentence:
"I'd like to order, please."
7. would've / could've / should've
The next one is actually three words that are all very similar. They are "would've, could've, and should've." The non-contracted forms are "would have, could have, and should have." So, we use this to talk about past events.
So, "I would've gone to the party if I had had time," for example.
Or, "I could've helped you if you called me."
Or, "I shouldn't've...," oh, that's a nice one, the negative form, "shouldn't've." "Shouldn't've" is the negative form.
"I shouldn't've drank so much last night.
So "should have" becomes "should've."
"Should not have" becomes "shouldna," shouldna.
I've talked about this in Ask Alisha as well too.
But "would have" becomes would've."
Therefore, "would not have," "wouldnt've."
Same thing with "could have," "couldn't've" as well.
"Should have," "shouldn't've."
So, these are all kind of contracted forms that sound much more natural when you're speaking. So these are kind of past tense examples, but they have lots of different uses too. So, "wouldna," "couldna," and "shouldna," are the most natural ways to say these words, "could not have," "would not have," "should not have," yeah. "Couldna," wouldna," "shouldna."
All right. In a sentence:
"I should've worked harder yesterday.
Then I could've finished earlier today."
8. lemme
No. 8, the next one is "lemme."
Michael talked about this in an episode of English Topics many years ago.
"Lemme"is an informal contraction for "let me," let me, meaning allow me. So, let me, followed by a verb.
So, "Lemme buy you a drink," hoho.
Or, "Lemme go to sleep."
Or, "Lemme hang out and play video games," whatever.
So, allow me to do something, lemme, lemme. We can use this with other subjects, like, "Ah, just let ‘em work" or "Ah, just let ‘er sleep." So that same sort of "let" sound is preserved, "let ‘em" or "let ‘er," but the middle sound is kind of cut a little bit and sort of contracted somewhat. But "let me" becomes "lemme," lemme.
In a sentence:
"Lemme make you dinner."
9. gimme
The next expression is "gimme."
So, similar to "lemme," which uses ~me at the end, we have "gimme," which means "give me," give me something. So, "Give me a moment of your time" could be "Gimme a moment of your time," so the contraction there. It decreases the distance between those two words, /ve/ sound disappears, "gimme" from "give me."
In a sentence:
"Gimme a few hours. I'll get back to you."
10. it's
The last contraction is "it's."
So, similar to "he's" and "she's," which we talked about before, "it's" with the apostrophe S, I should note, can refer to "it is" or "it has." Again, we need to pay attention to the grammar, overall, of the sentence.
So like, "It's a dog" is "It is a dog."
Or, "It's been a long day." That case is "It has been a long day."
So again, we need to look to the verb that follows the expression to determine, is it a "has" or an "is"? So, in my first example, "It's a dog," we see a noun there. Dog is a noun. "It's a dog."
In the second example, "It's been a long day," we see a verb there, so we know it should be "has." The past participle is a great hint.
So, please pay attention to "it's" as well. Try to use "it's" instead of "it is."
"It's my favorite song!"