I'll: One Word or Two

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Ataylor

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Is this sentence correct: "Three words: I'll do it!" Is "I'll" considered one word or is it considered two words since the apostrophe is taking the place of "wi" in "will?"

"Three words: I'll do it!"

vs

"Four words: I'll do it!"
 

bhaisahab

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Is this sentence correct: "Three words: I'll do it!" Is "I'll" considered one word or is it considered two words since the apostrophe is taking the place of "wi" in "will?"

"Three words: I'll do it!"

vs

"Four words: I'll do it!"
Four words IMO.
 

emsr2d2

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I would count it as three words.

If the word count is important, Microsoft Word also counts "I'll" as just one word - that could make a difference if a document has to have a maximum number of words.
 

bhaisahab

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I would count it as three words.

If the word count is important, Microsoft Word also counts "I'll" as just one word - that could make a difference if a document has to have a maximum number of words.
I wouldn't count Microsoft as an authority on anything.;-)
 

2006

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I would count it as three words.

If the word count is important, Microsoft Word also counts "I'll" as just one word - that could make a difference if a document has to have a maximum number of words.
It's not surprising that Microsoft Word counts it as one 'word', as there is no empty space within it. I assume it would also count 'xb297' as one word.

I wouldn't count "I'll" as one word or two words; it's a contraction of two words.
So my answer is that there are two words and one contraction.
 

emsr2d2

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I wouldn't count Microsoft as an authority on anything.;-)

Nor would I, but if you're given an assignment and it has to be done in Word, then the people marking it will look at Microsoft's word count. :)
 

Ataylor

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Thanks for the replies, everyone.

It's not surprising that Microsoft Word counts it as one 'word', as there is no empty space within it. I assume it would also count 'xb297' as one word.

I wouldn't count "I'll" as one word or two words; it's a contraction of two words.
So my answer is that there are two words and one contraction.

So how, then, would you construct the sentence? "Two words: I'll do it!" Or can one not construct such a sentence as it is grammatically incorrect without saying, "Two words and one contraction: I'll do it!"
 

emsr2d2

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When we finally reach a conclusion, I'll have to let my father know what it is. When I was an obnoxious teenager who wanted to go out, I would ask him over and over "Can I go out?". He would say "No" over and over. I would keep saying "But please....all my friends are going!" etc etc.

The conversation regularly ended with the following from my dad:

"I have three words for you - YOU'RE NOT GOING!"

I guess I should let him know if "You're" suddenly doesn't count as one word any more!!!

;-)
 

2006

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Thanks for the replies, everyone.
So how, then, would you construct the sentence? "Two words: I'll do it!" Or can one not construct such a sentence as it is grammatically incorrect without saying, "Two words and one contraction: I'll do it!"
I'm not sure what the practical point of the question is. But I would say 'Four words: I will do it!'
or if appropriate, 'Two words: I will.'
 

SoothingDave

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A contraction is considered one word where I come from.
 

Ataylor

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I'm not sure what the practical point of the question is.
No point - I'm just curious.

But I would say 'Four words: I will do it!'or if appropriate, 'Two words: I will.'

So then, for the record, both "Three words: I'll do it" and, "Four words: I'll do it" are grammatically incorrect and should never be used?
 

emsr2d2

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No point - I'm just curious.



So then, for the record, both "Three words: I'll do it" and, "Four words: I'll do it" are grammatically incorrect and should never be used?


It seems to be personal opinion at the moment.

For my part, if you wrote "Here are three words for you: I'll do it" in a post on here, I would consider it correct. If you put "Here are four words for you: I'll do it" I would change it to "three words"!
 

joham

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In China, we would count 'I'll do it' as three words.
But when we search the corpora, we have to put in i 'll do it instead of i'll do it. Otherwise, the corpora will give us no results.
Other instances are: ca n't instead of can't, wo n't instead of won't.
 

emsr2d2

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Part of speech? Not a clue.

But let's at least see if anyone else is as confused as we are:

Do contractions count as one word or two? | CA020 (They say it can be both!)

ESOL Candidate Support - Papers
(Final paragraph refers. Agrees with 1st link)

I got bored looking at links at this point though I did find the same answer on several pages.

I'm happy to consider myself wrong with my original answer. The consensus of opinion appears to be:

If the contraction was originally two words (won't, I'll, he's, etc) then the contraction is considered two words.

If the contraction was originally one word (can't, fo'c'sle) then the contraction is considered to be one word.
 

2006

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Part of speech? Not a clue.

But let's at least see if anyone else is as confused as we are:

Do contractions count as one word or two? | CA020 (They say it can be both!)

ESOL Candidate Support - Papers
(Final paragraph refers. Agrees with 1st link) Actually, they seem to be exactly the same, one copied from the other or both copied from another.

If the contraction was originally two words (won't, I'll, he's, etc) then the contraction is considered two words.

If the contraction was originally one word (can't, fo'c'sle) then the contraction is considered to be one word.
Of course the emphasis is strongly on 'counting words', rather than on saying whether a contraction is really a word. Of course the references refer to "contracted words", suggesting they are real words, at least in the writer's opinion.

One online dictionary I checked accepted "I'll" in the word search, but the other dictionary wanted to talk about "ill".

Finally, if a contraction is a real word, 'contraction' might be a candidate for what part of speech it is. But so far, 'contraction' is not one of the parts of speech.
 

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That could make as much sense as anything else said here about "I'll". But if "I'll" is a word, what part of speech is it?

Good question. I was going on the idea that you can find contractions listed in the dictionary. Plus the idea that words are something that we write which are separated by spaces.

In that sense, they are words.

In the sense that a contraction can combine two parts of speech, it may be more complex.

I guess it boils down to who is doing the counting. Can you use contractions to avoid a "word count" limit in a classified ad? What does Western Union charge for a telegram contraction?
 

joham

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Originally Posted by joham
In China, we would count 'I'll do it' as three words. Are you talking about the English version?

Dear 2006,
I'm talking about these English words, but in a loose context rather than in an academic sense (in linguistic research, for example). If we are required by our teacher to write a composition of 200 words, then I'll, can't, or won't is counted as one word, in Chinese classrooms. There has been no one who set the rule, just people usually do so. (Because of my poor English, I don't know if I've expressed myself correctly and approprietely.)
 
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