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ESL forum > Grammar and Linguistics > Contractions for "are" with WH question words and nouns.    

Contractions for "are" with WH question words and nouns.

Thalia Gralik

Contractions for "are" with WH question words and nouns.
Please, I īd like to know the correct usage of the contractions with WH words and nouns. Is it correct  to use: What īre...? / Who īre...? / How īre...? / etc...
And if my name īs Thalia (is correct)... Is it correct to use: My favorite subjects īre English and Portuguese.
What are the grammar rules for this issue?  
Thanks a lot for your help.

16 Jul 2011      


dear thalia, well  i think it isnt correct to use contractions with are and wh - questions. what are....) who are..? etc, but u can use what īs ... (what is...?) who īs ...(who is)?. and you are right when u say " my name īs thalia. (it is correct). but my favorite subjects are English and ..... is much better than my favorite subjects īre. i think it isnt correct.

16 Jul 2011     

United Kingdom

Dear Thalia,
If you send me a Private Message with your e-mail, I īll send you a Worksheet explaining Contractions.

17 Jul 2011     

United States

Contractions with "   īre   " are used in spoken English, but are not commonly used in written English, except when recording dialogue. This true in US usage, at least. I don īt know about British practices in this area.

17 Jul 2011     

United Kingdom

I īm with Bruce on this (spoken rather than written) although according to the Macmillan book on Email English it īs standard (neutral?) in emails. I shouldn īt think they īd be a difference in Brit and American English in this instance. No doubt someone will pop up to say that isn īt so.

17 Jul 2011     

United Kingdom

Dear Thalia,
In answer to your question about Contractions in English.
"Who īre", "What īre"; "Why īre"; Where īre"; "When īre"; Which īre"; "How īre"; are all used in conversation in the UK.  They are also used in informal writing. 
"My favourite subjects īre English and Portuguese", is pefectly acceptable to me, in spoken English, and in informal writing.
"My name īs Thalia/Maria/Les/etc". is used daily in speech and is frequently seen in informal writing.
I quote "A Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language" page 26, by Professor Quirk and 4 other English Professors.
"Contractions such as "didn īt" are appropriate in both informal and *neutral English; they are excluded from formal English".
*"Neutral English", is "normal English", midway between "informal" and "formal".
I quote "An A - Z of English Grammar and Usage", page 101, by Geoffrey Leech, Benita Cruikshank and Roz Ivanič
"Contractions are used in speech and informal writing.  Do not use them in formal writing, for example, business letters".
I quote "Practical English Usage", page 132, by Michael Swann of Oxford University Press.
"Contractions are common and correct in informal writing: they represent the pronunciation of informal speech.  They are not generally used in formal style".
A Private Note; Personal Letter; Scribbled Instructions; Diary; Shopping List; Novel; Book of Fiction; Written Conversation; Comic Writing; Personal E-Mail; Light-Hearted Essay; Popular Newspaper; Popular Magazine; are all examples of Informal Writing.
A Business Letter; Thesis; College/University Assignment; Essay on a Serious Subject; Serious Newspaper; Technical Magazine; Scientific Paper; Formal Written Debate; Non-Fiction Book; Official Proclamation; Notice; Written Record of Court Proceedings; Minutes of a Meeting; Business E-Mail; Job Application; Curriculum Vitae; are all examples of Formal Writing. 
If you are in doubt, treat the subject as Formal, then you wonīt cause offence.
I hope that this helps you.

17 Jul 2011