Sunday, September 8

Informal Contractions





Are you familiar with the song “Bad Boys”? It was sung by the reggae band Inner Circle and was made popular by the American TV show “Cops.”



This song was very popular in the 1990s, and it was used as the OST (Official Sound Track) of the movie “Bad Boys” starring Will Smith and Martin Lawrence.



Copyright Columbia Pictures


Here’s a recording of the song “Bad Boys.” Try and understand its lyrics:





Can you hear what the singers are saying? The words are a bit hard to catch, right?



Here is the chorus of the song. Please check if you heard the words correctly:



Bad boys, bad boys

Whatcha gonna do, whatcha gonna do

When they come for you

Bad boys, bad boys

Whatcha gonna do, whatcha gonna do

When they come for you



The words are difficult to hear because they are shortened.



For example,


What are you going to do? = Whatcha gonna do?



Whatcha” is one example of informal contraction. As you might already know, a contraction is a shortened version of a word or expression.



Ex. 


I will = I'll 

He had = He'd 

They are = They're




But “whatcha” as a contraction is very casual. It’s a kind of English slang.



Watcha” also has many possible meanings:


(1) What are you..


Ex. Whatcha gonna do?


(2) What have you…


Ex. Whatcha got that hammer for?


(3) What do you…


Ex. Whatcha want to work like an animal for?



As you can feel, the contraction “Whacha” is used only in very casual situations.




Cause vs. ’Cause



Another example is the word “cause.” This word is a contraction of “because.” You can see the apostrophe symbol at the beginning of the word. Because the first letters have been removed.



Because ===> + cause


Ex.


I like her ’cause she’s sexy.



Please don’t confuse this with the other word “cause,” which is a Noun. They’re different:


Ex.


Lung cancer is the cause of smoking.



The Verbcause” is also different:



Smoking causes lung cancer.



If you want to use the contraction of “because,” please don’t forget to add the apostrophe symbol ( ’ ) at the beginning.



I need to go home ’cause it’s late.



You can see this contraction in the lyrics of many American songs. Aside from the spelling above, there are other styles of this word like:


(1) Cuz

(2) ’Cos

(3) ’Coz



It depends on the speaker / writer which style they want to use. But as you can feel, “whatcha” and “’cause” are very informal contractions. They’re similar to slang.





How to Make Them



It’s easy to make informal contractions. You just have to pronounce a word or expression very fast. Don’t pronounce each word carefully or clearly.



If you do this, the spelling will become similar to the pronunciation.


Ex.


I’ve got to go.



If you pronounce this sentence very fast, it will become:


I gotta go.



Gotta” is the informal contraction of “have got to.”



We also sometimes use more than 1 contraction in a sentence:



Whatcha going to do? = Ok


Whatcha gonna do? = Ok



There are no fixed, strict rules. And sometimes we just follow sound or feeling. So contractions can be different depending on the speaker.



Also, a word can be removed completely by some speakers. For example,


Do you wanna beer?



The contraction above means “want a” for some speakers and “want to” for other speakers.



Aside from this, other styles are possible:



D’you wanna beer? = Ok

D’ya wanna beer? = Ok

Ya wanna beer? = Ok

Wanna beer? = Ok




Other Informal Contractions



Here are some other informal contractions.



Ain’t
Lotsa
Dunno
Oughta
Gimme
Outta
Gonna
Shoulda
Coulda
Woulda
Gotta
Wanna
Kinda
Ya
Lemme




And here are their normal, original, and long versions:



Informal Contraction

Original Version
Informal Contraction
Original Version

ain’t

am not, is not, are not
has not, have not
do not, does not, did not

lotsa

lots of
dunno
I don’t know.
oughta
ought to
gimme
give me
outta
out of
gonna
going to
shoulda
coulda
woulda
should have
could have
would have
gotta
have got to
have got a
wanna
want to
kinda
kind of
ya
you
lemme
let me





Now let me give you an example of how to use each of them:




Informal Contraction

Example
ain’t
She ain’t coming here.
dunno
I dunno where he went.
gimme
Gimme that!
gonna
I’m gonna tell her.
gotta
I gotta go right now.
kinda
It’s kinda difficult.
lemme
Lemme tell you something.
lotsa
I got lotsa things to do.
oughta
You oughta go there.
outta
Let’s get outta here.
shoulda
I shoulda known about that.
wanna
I wanna do that.
ya
Who told ya?




In Summary



Informal contractions are a fun and interesting way to speak English. But please remember that when you use them depends on the situation. For example, you should only use them when talking to your friends, not in a business meeting or in writing a school report.



Finally, most non-native speakers can speak English well without ever using informal contractions.




Hope You Learned Something!





P.S. For a deeper discussion of each expression or informal contraction, just click:


2. Gotta 

3. Kinda 




Keep on learning !




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