November 12

‘That’re’ Contraction Not Real English

Contractions are a handy feature in English grammar, allowing us to combine a couple of words into one. Contractions such as we’re and they’re are fine, but I just received an email using the would-be contraction that’re, which is completely bogus and not acceptable in standard English.

Another such unacceptable contraction would be there’re.

Though I know by ear and experience that that’re and there’re are both incorrect English, finding a rule to explain why isn’t so easy to do. I did a Google search on “rules for contractions in English” and found all kinds of sites showing examples of how to correctly use contractions, but not a single site that could cite a rule concerning when contractions shouldn’t be used.

If anyone finds the rules, please let me know.

Meanwhile, remember this: Contractions should never be used in formal writing, whether a college essay or a business proposal. In fact, contractions should generally be confined to oral communication.



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Posted November 12, 2013 by Gary McCarty in category "Grammar Notes

2 COMMENTS :

  1. By Kate on

    I think a lot of shorter “versions” of words are coming into use through slang, etc. because of social media. For example, Twitter allows only 140 characters per message, so you have to be able to squeeze in your thoughts and what you want to say in a much shorter way..if you don’t want to have to tweet multiple (and annoying) run-on messages to say what you want to say. It’s too bad but, that’s the way it is these days and people have shorter attention spans and won’t read too many messages in a row to get your whole point because they get irritated and/or bored.

    Reply
  2. By Yuka on

    I don’t wanna offend you or sound like I am just completely dismissing your opinion, but it always sounds strange to me in ANY language when someone says that a word or phrase isn’t “true” to that language. Every single word in existence, including English words, didn’t exist before they did. (Well duh, but stay with me.) over time they become a part of the language. I actually use “thet’re” quite a lot as well, and people understand what I’m saying whether they be completely anal about the use of language or not (I didn’t mean that towards you). At some point in the future, these words might end up being accepted as “true” English, just like many other words that used to not exist.

    I also speak Japanese, and there are new words popping up all the time. I’ll use Pokemon GO as an example. In Japanese, it’s said the same way as in English. But we use things similar to English contractions as well. So in Japanese, a lot of people say “Poke-GO” which is now a Japanese word. For “television” we use “terebi (televi)” for “animation” we use “anime”. The title of one popular anime, Fullmetal Alchemist, in Japanese is “Hagane no Renkinjutsushi” and people often just say “Hagaren” for short (actually, if you simply type HAGAREN into the English Google Search, Fullmetal Alchemist will pop up. And many English speakers use Hagaren for the title too). “Erotic games” are “eroge”. And so on. But not too many people are up in arms about this, because that’s how a language evolves.

    The same goes with English. How many words are a part of “standard” English that used to be slang or completely made up? It’s okay. I have things that I am passionate about too, so I can understand being passionate about English as well, but just let the language evolve and take a breath. People will use the words they want anyways whether we waste energy being upset about it or not. You get what I’m saying?

    I don’t mean this in an offensive way at all.

    Reply

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