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  1. #1
    greystroke is offline Junior Member
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    Default Use of Contractions on the short answer

    Hi Everyone,

    This came up in class today and I had no answer

    In the short answers No , I'm not and Yes, I am Why do we say No , I'm not ( Contracting I and am ) but say Yes, I am ( without contracting I and Am)?

    Is there an explanation for this; if so please could someone clarify?

    Thanks in advance.

    Arun

  2. #2
    SoothingDave is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: Use of Contractions on the short answer

    Because "I'm" needs to be followed by something else. It's not natural to just say "I'm."

    I'm here, I'm tired, I'm sleepy - all OK.

    Just "I'm" - no.

    It seems in general that we don't contract verbs when they aren't followed by something. Certainly in a short answer like this.


    Will you be there?

    "We will," not "We'll."


    Are your parents coming?

    "They are," not "They're."

    Is it raining?

    "It is," not "It's."

  3. #3
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    moonlike is offline Member
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    Default Re: Use of Contractions on the short answer

    Hi greystroke
    I'd like to respectfully add something to what soothingdave has mentioned perfectly well.
    According to 'practical English usage' by Michael Swan, "contractions don't normally come at the ends of clauses."
    -I'm late.
    Yes, you are.(NOT yes,you're.)
    "Negative contractions can come at the ends of clauses."
    They really aren't.
    No, I haven't.

    Good luck!
    Being a non-native teacher, I'm so thrilled being in such a superb forum.

  4. #4
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    Barb_D is online now Moderator
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    Default Re: Use of Contractions on the short answer

    I would add that a lot of English learners don't seem to be aware of this. I participate in an international chat room, and people frequently say "Yes, I'm" and every time, I think "I'm ... what?" and then I realize that they have simply answered a yes/no question and nothing is coming after it.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

  5. #5
    greystroke is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: Use of Contractions on the short answer

    Thank you Moonlike,

    The examples with the negative ( from Swan) really help.

    Greystroke

  6. #6
    greystroke is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: Use of Contractions on the short answer

    Thank you SoothingDave,
    That's really helpful.

    Greystroke

  7. #7
    greystroke is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: Use of Contractions on the short answer

    Thanks Barb,

    Greystroke

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Use of Contractions on the short answer

    Quote Originally Posted by greystroke View Post
    Thank you Moonlike,

    The examples with the negative ( from Swan) really help.

    Greystroke

    You're welcome. However, you don't need to open posts to thank those who have replied separately. Just clicking on the Like in the lower right corner would suffice (this is something that I had to learn here. Honestly speaking, I also thanked all who kindly helped me , then I learned here the moderators prefer the "like" more, and appreciate it.)
    Good luck!
    Being a non-native teacher, I'm so thrilled being in such a superb forum.

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