Contractions vs. full forms...

Douglas G. Wilson douglas at NB.NET
Thu Apr 4 10:59:11 UTC 2002

>Can anyone direct me toward research concerning the grammaticality of
>contracted forms vs. full forms?  For example:
>There's two white cars in my yard.  vs. *There is two white cars in my yard.
>?I suggest that you're early tomorrow. vs. *I suggest that you are early
>Of course these are non-standard for "There are two white cars..." and "I
>suggest that you be..." but the contracted forms are also acceptable to my
>(and alot of people's) ears while the full forms are not.  So, yeah, has
>anyone worked on this before?

I don't know. But I can make a personal/idiosyncratic remark, as I happened
to think about this very thing today.

The second example above ("I suggest that you're ...") is not cogent in my
own case; I'd be as likely/unlikely to use "you are" here as "you're" (I

The other example pertains to me, all right; so does one other (that I can
think of). Both are of unknown origin in my childhood, but both are
consciously retained ... for phonetic reasons (I guess).

(1) "There are two cars" but "There's two cars": "There're" is awkward (to
me) phonetically ("bearer" is not: I think the notional distinction is /rr/
versus /r at r/ [@=schwa]).

(2) "Am I not stupid" versus "Aren't/ain't I stupid": "amn't" is awkward
(to me) phonetically ("raiment" is not: notionally /mnt/ versus /m at nt/, I

-- Doug Wilson

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