Spelling Rules Help (page 4)

Updated on Sep 8, 2011


A contraction is formed by putting two words together and omitting one or more letters. The idea is that you add an apostrophe to show that letters have been left out. For example, "We have decided to move to Alaska" becomes, "We've decided to move to Alaska."

      Here's a list of some of the most common contractions:
      he will = he'll
      I will = I'll
      we will = we'll
      it is = it's
      she is = she's
      you are = you're
      they are = they're
      we are = we're
      cannot = can't
      1960 = '60
      do not = don't
      does not = doesn't
      have not = haven't
      should not = shouldn't
      will not = won't

There are other ways in which an apostrophe can represent missing letters:

  • In dialect: "I'm goin' down to the swimmin' hole," said the boy.
  • When the letter o represents of: "Top o' the morning to you."


Many words and expressions in English are shortened by means of abbreviations. Though certain abbreviations are not usually used in formal writing, such as abbreviations for days of the week, they can be useful in less formal situations. Abbreviations are usually followed by periods.

The Exceptions

  • Don't use periods with the two-letter postal code abbreviations for states: CA, FL, IL, NJ, NY, TX, and so on.
  • Don't use periods for initials representing a company or agency: FBI, CBS, NFL.
  • Don't use periods after the letters in acronyms.

Common Abbreviations

Type Examples
Names of days Sun., Mon., Tues., Wed., etc.
Names of months Jan., Feb., Mar., Apr., etc.
Titles and degrees Mr., Mrs., Ms., Esq., Dr., Hon.,M.D., Ph.D., Ed.D.
Rank Sgt., Capt., Maj., Col., Gen.
Business terms C.O.D. (collect on delivery), Mfg.(Manufacturing), Inc. (Incorporated), Assn. (Association), Ltd. (Limited)

Practice exercises for this study guide can be found at: Spelling Rules Practice

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