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    #1

    Short forms of "To be" and "To have"

    Hello.

    Are the short forms of verbs "To be" and "To have" common in written English?
    For example "She has a baby" is probably more common than "She's a baby" in both spoken and written English.
    The short forms of the verbs "To have" and "To be" as auxiliary verbs are common in both speech and writing. For example "It's been ten years." "She's arrived." (She has arrived and She is gone) "She's gone." "She's been away" (She has been away)

    "She is a baby" and "She's a baby" are common in both speech and writing. Am I right?

  2. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Short forms of "To be" and "To have"

    "She's a baby" would not be taken to mean "She has a baby". All native BrE speakers would understand "She's" there to mean "She is a baby". As I said in a recent similar thread (that annoyingly I can't find), an Irish friend of mine does use "She's a ..." to mean "She has a ..." but it's not used that way in BrE.
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

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    #3

    Re: Short forms of "To be" and "To have"

    Quote Originally Posted by emsr2d2 View Post
    "She's a baby" would not be taken to mean "She has a baby". All native BrE speakers would understand "She's" there to mean "She is a baby". As I said in a recent similar thread (that annoyingly I can't find), an Irish friend of mine does use "She's a ..." to mean "She has a ..." but it's not used that way in BrE.
    I remember that but if we are talking about them when they are used as auxiliary vebs? I updated my post. It was not discussed in that thread. That's why I asked a new question.
    Last edited by Rachel Adams; 30-Sep-2020 at 13:40.

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    #4

    Re: Short forms of "To be" and "To have"

    Quote Originally Posted by Rachel Adams View Post
    I remember that but if we are talking about them when they are used as auxiliary vebs? I updated my post. It was not discussed in that thread. That's why I asked a new question.
    How about this: read an article from six or eight different journals — say, Slate, The New York Times, the Guardian, The Economist, The Daily Mail, The New Yorker, and People — and count how many times the verbs appear contracted and un-contracted. I'll be interested in the results.
    Last edited by GoesStation; 30-Sep-2020 at 17:51. Reason: Remove a stray word.
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  5. tzfujimino's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: Short forms of "To be" and "To have"

    Quote Originally Posted by emsr2d2 View Post
    As I said in a recent similar thread (that annoyingly I can't find), an Irish friend of mine [...]
    Are you looking for this?
    https://www.usingenglish.com/forum/t...or-he-s-a-baby

  6. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: Short forms of "To be" and "To have"

    Quote Originally Posted by Rachel Adams View Post
    Are the short forms of verbs "to be" and "to have" common in written English?
    Simply, yes.

    For example "She has a baby" is probably more common than "She's a baby" in both spoken and written English.
    Yes, it is, but that's because there is no natural way to contract "She has a baby". "She's a baby" would be perfectly appropriate in both written and spoken English if you want to say "She is a baby".

    The short forms of the verbs "to have" and "to be" as auxiliary verbs are common in both speech and writing. For example "It's been ten years" ("It has been ten years"), "She's arrived" (She has arrived), and "She's gone" ("She is gone") is gone) "She's gone." and "She's been away" ("She has been away").
    Yes, except for the fact that "She's gone" is generally a contraction of "She has gone", not "She is gone".

    "She is a baby" and "She's a baby" are common in both speech and writing. Am I right?
    As long as you want "She's a baby" to mean "She is a baby", yes, they would be used in both spoken and written English.
    Note my corrections (in red) and comments (in blue) above.

    At its simplest:
    "She's" as part of a present perfect verb means "She has". For example, "She's eaten a sandwich".
    "She's" as part of a present continuous verb means "She is". For example, "She's eating a sandwich".
    "She's" used before a noun or an adjective means "She is". For example, "She's an accountant" and "She's tired".
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

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    #7

    Re: Short forms of "To be" and "To have"

    "She's gone" is generally a contraction of "She has gone", not "She is gone".
    It's "she is gone" in American English.
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  8. Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    #8

    Re: Short forms of "To be" and "To have"

    Quote Originally Posted by Rachel Adams View Post
    "She is a baby" and "She's a baby" are common in both speech and writing. Am I right?
    It depends on the register- we don't use the contraction in formal writing.

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    #9

    Re: Short forms of "To be" and "To have"

    Quote Originally Posted by Tdol View Post
    It depends on the register- we don't use the contraction in formal writing.
    But some contractions are used even in pretty formal registers. I don't know how a learner would gauge this, so it's safest to avoid them at any level above the informal. Reading journals like Scientific American, The Economist, etc. will help an advanced learner determine where native speakers do and don't contract verbs.
    I am not a teacher.

  10. Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    #10

    Re: Short forms of "To be" and "To have"

    Don't do it in an academic essay.

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