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As anyone who knows a little about science will know ( and all the parents out there of course) to contract means to make some thing smaller be it words or muscles. If you are a teacher i would miss out the other description of course! In this instance it means to make a word smaller, reducing its size and the time taken to say it and helping with connected speech.
They are used mostly as an informal way of writing and a quicker and therefore also informal way of speaking. so we would say ”don’t pick your nose” instead of ”Do not pick your nose” They are often misused or added in the wrong place, and yes even by teachers. See if you can see how the following examples might be funny.
Also for reasons i wont go into here ( it’s supposed to be a short post!) it is a rule of thumb not to use a contraction at the end of a sentence. Try it and you will see it sounds strange. If you really want to know why then check this out.
It can be a challenge to teach this to younger learners, but it you do head down that road the following tips and hints might make it easier for both teacher and student.