A contraction is a shortened form of two words, often a pronoun and a verb (I + am = I’m) or a verb and the word not (is + not = isn’t), where an apostrophe takes the place of the missing letter or letters.

First grade students learn that a verb and the word “not” can be put together to make a new word called a contraction, in which an apostrophe takes the place of the letter “o” in “not”. Word study for Grades 1 and 2 focuses on contractions that simply combine the two words with an apostrophe in place of the missing “o”. Irregular contractions, such as will + not = won’t and can + not = can’t, are introduced in Grade 3.

All contractions are typically taught together after first grade. The focus in second grade is on pronoun contractions. (I + will = I’ll, you + will = you’ll, I + am = I’m, etc.) Students learn that an apostrophe takes the place of the missing letter or letters to become a contraction. In third grade, students learn to differentiate between some common contractions and their homophones (they’re/their/there, you’re/your).

View Common Core State Standards Related to ContractionsClose

Common Core State Standards Related to Contractions

Use an apostrophe to form contractions and frequently occurring possessives.

Compare formal and informal uses of English.

View Words at a GlanceClose

Not Contractions: aren’t, can’t, couldn’t, didn’t, doesn’t, don’t, hasn’t, haven’t, isn’t, shouldn’t, wasn’t, weren’t, won’t, wouldn’t

Have, Has, and Had Contractions: I’ve, you’ve, we’ve, they’ve

Am, Is and Are Contractions: I’m, you’re, he’s, she’s, it’s, we’re, they’re, that’s, who’s

Would and Will Contractions: I’ll, you’ll, he’ll, she’ll, it’ll, we’ll, they’ll, that’ll, who’ll, I’d, you’d, he’d, she’d, it’d, we’d, they’d, that’d

Words Confused with Contractions: its, it’s, their, there, they’re, who’s, whose, your, you’re, were, we’re, where’s

Forms of Nouns: aunt, aunts, aunt’s, aunts’, boy, boys, boy’s, boys’, lady, ladies, lady’s, ladies’, doctor, doctors, doctor’s, doctors’, uncle, uncles, uncle’s, uncles’, friend, friends, friend’s, friends’, bird, birds, bird’s, birds’, farmer, farmers, farmer’s, farmers’ provides word lists, printables, and interactive games and activities that give students the opportunity to use an apostrophe to form contractions.

Try Aim2Spell with the Grade 2 Contractions and Possessives list.