The Grammarphobia Blog

“Disreputable” contractions

Q: I teach ESL (that explains why I e-mail you so often). The text I use for my grammar class has a chart of contractions that includes “there’re” for “there are.” Please tell me this is wrong.

A: In my grammar book Woe Is I, there are lists of commonly accepted contractions as well as “disreputable” ones. “There’re” is among the disreputables. It’s common in speech, but written English is not yet ready for it.

In case you’re interested, here are the contractions I believe are not appropriate for written English. Leading the pack, of course, is our old friend ain’t. Now for the rest, in manageable bunches.

Could’ve, should’ve, would’ve, might’ve, must’ve.

Also, it’d, that’d, there’d, this’d, what’d.

And how’d, how’ll, how’re, how’s, when’ll, when’re, when’s, where’d, where’ll, where’re, why’d, why’re, why’s.

Also, that’ll, that’re, that’ve, there’ll, there’re, there’ve, this’ll, who’re.

And that’s all for now!

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