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Practice English Speaking&Listening with: English for Beginners: APOSTROPHES for missing letters & contractions

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A license to print money.

[Laughs] I wish.

Hey, E. How ya doin'?

Hi. James from engVid.

I was reading an interesting book on making money, but I noticed E's up to something.

He's praying...

He's playing detective, as you can see - Sherlock E. And I want to know: What's he up to?

And he says: "How you doin'?"

And I noticed that he's looking at this strange thing, it's called an "apostrophe".

Why don't we find out what he's doing, and what is the case of the missing letters?

And before I even go there, I would like to say: Thank you to Francisco from Paraguay-yay!-for

this brilliant shirt.

Thank you.

And Paraguay, thank you for watching.


Anyway, let's go to the case for the missing letters.

We're going to talk about apostrophes.

Now, apostrophes are part of our...

Well, we have...


Periods, question marks, exclamation marks - these are all markings we put in our language

to tell us that something is interesting about that sentence or something is missing in the


In this particular case, we're talking about the apostrophe.

There are a couple of other things it's used for, but right now I wanted to talk about

missing letters.

You know?

Like: "Has anybody seen my letter?

My letter 'g' - it's missing since this morning at 9am."

You go: "What are you talking about?"

Well, let's start here.

Missing letters.

Sometimes at the end of a present continuous verb...

And, you know, verbs are: "run", "do", "go", "stop".


And the continuous form would be: "running", "doing", "going", "stopping".


The letter "g" is dropped.

Now, this isn't necessarily in writing; it's in spoken English, so I want to make sure

you understand that.

You may see it in, you know, like songs' lyrics or modern works of literature, you know, or

in conversation when they're writing, you know, paragraphs, like: "What are you doin',


But it's not supposed to be written in formal language.

So, if you're doing an essay or a government document, please do not use these forms that

I'm about to teach you.


Understand them when you read them and when someone is speaking, and you can understand

why they're saying: "What are you doin'?"

instead of "doing".

That it's the same word, same meaning, but just a different pronunciation.


And this is what we said here, right?

The "g" is dropped, causing a change in the pronunciation.

The meaning of the verb, however, stays the same.

I can say: "How are you doing?" and "How you doin'?"

Same word, same meaning, different pronunciation.


We call it colloquial usage.

Here are some examples.

"Are you goin' to the party?

Are you going to the party?

Are you goin' to the party?"


There you go.

The dropping the "g" is shown by the apostrophe.

And sometimes when you read a comic book, or a book, or a novel, you know, a romance

novel, and they're saying: "He's goin' to help us."

That's what this is.

So you don't have to go: "What is this new word in English I've never seen before?"

"What is she sayin'?

What is she sayin'?"

Instead of: "What is she saying?

What is she saying?" where our tongue drops to the bottom of our mouth.

"What is she saying?

Saying", tongue down here.

"Sayin'", tongue goes to the top of the mouth.

"n" sound is at the top; "ing" sound is at the bottom.

"He is doin' it for you."


"He is doin' it now for you.

He is doin' it".

I have a hard time saying these things.


This is...

So, it's not in my language.

It's not in my vernacular.

Not in my vocabulary, so for me to say it, I actually have to think about it.

So I really do when you understand when you have a problem with it.


So: "He is doin' it now for you."

And to be honest, this is not even right.

This is an incorrect sentence.

Nobody who would say this would say "for you".

He would say: "He is doin' now for ya.

He's doin' it now for ya, and that's how it's going to go."

So, if you don't like it, I'm like: I'm sorry, but this is how you would normally speak with


This kind of contraction will lead to this kind of English, and "ya" means "you", and

that's why I have a hard time saying it, because this is proper English, and then we've got

more of a slangy English, and our brains don't work that way.

You either have to do the full thing, or none of it.


So, we've addressed that.


And any of you who watch Friends, now you understand Joey Tribbiani: "How you doin'?"

Now you know what he's saying.

"How are you doing?"

Now, this is the first part.

The idea I wanted you to understand was that the apostrophe indicates there's something


There's some information that is not there, and it's saying: "We understand that, and

we're letting you know this is the case."

All right?

We go a little bit further from just, you know, grammar/slang kind of speech to a contraction

that is actually used in written English on a regular basis, but it's not just there are

missing letters; there's another element to it.

So, let's take a look.


In a contraction, there are two words joined together - and that's the missing element.

So it's not just letters are missing, as in this case, the "g" is missing; but they are

actually taking two letters and putting it together, like a cake.

You have eggs, you have water, you have flour - when you contract them, you make a cake.

They no longer exist as separate things; they are now a new thing.

In a contraction, there are two words joined together and the word is also missing some


So there's...

There are two things we're looking at.

Examples of this are: "Aren't you hot in that sweater?"

The first thing you'll go is: "Hey, James, I noticed there's a missing letter."

And I go: "Yeah, there is", but do you notice the two words are together?

And this time it's not a "g" because it's not a present continuous verb.


It's the verb "to be" plus the negation.

All right?

"Negation" meaning negative or "not".

And we can see, here, it's: "Are not".

So I can say...


You'd probably say it: "Are you not hot in that sweater?"

And because we don't want to speak like that because it takes much more brain power, we

say: "Aren't you hot in that sweater?"


Next: "I'd like some coffee, please."

Here we can see the "I" is there-that is a word-and "would" gets contracted all the way

down just to the letter "d", so it's telling us almost most of the word is not here; it's

just the letter "d".

"I'd like some coffee, please."

Or you could say: "I would like some coffee, please."



Next contraction: "They've gone home now."


"They've gone home now", which is really: "They have gone home now."

All right?

So, we're using a present perfect form, but we've contracted it into one word, as opposed

to two words, and: "They've".


Even changed the way we said it.

Instead of: "They have", it becomes: "They've".


And finally our final example for here is: "We'll be back later."

Now: "We'll" is "We will".

And sometimes I know it's difficult for students to pronounce this, because they're like: "We'ill,

we'ill", because they try to say both words.

In all of these cases, do not try to say both words.

The new contraction takes on a life of its own, has its own sound, but keeps the same

meaning as the two separate words.

So, you might say: "James, okay, thanks for explaining all of this.

But why do you people do this?"

Well, to be quite honest with you, we say these words all the time - 50, 100 times a


And really: "I would like a cup of coffee, please.

We'll be sitting...

We will be sitting at the table over there."


So, what's the next one?

"Are you not going to bring it over at this moment?"

Takes way too long.

And just like in every language in the universe, once something is said very regularly, we

find a shortcut or an easier way of saying it while maintaining the meaning, making it

easier to come out of our mouths and to be easily...

Much more easily understood by the person we're speaking to.


So, that's why the contractions.

So, if you're going: "Why 'We will'?"

Because: "We will", just say it.

"We will.

We will."

Just: "We'll".

Much easier to say; meaning is maintained.


All right.

So, I've given you some examples, and Mr. E, have I helped you with the case of missing


"Yes, you have, James."

He spoke.

[Laughs] Yeah, I thought so.

Yes, we do try.

So, you know what?

Let's go to the board, because of course, we should actually see how well you understand

the lesson.

Are you ready?


Okay, and we are back.

Once again, Francisco, thank you very much; love my new threads.

"Threads" means clothing in this case.

So, I've got usually...

As usual, I have a little bit of extra stuff for you, like some, you know, masala, some

seasoning and flavours.

Then we'll have our homework and we'll have our little quiz before we go...

Well, before I have to go.

So, I just want to mention with apostrophes, I'm just giving a simple lesson on the missing

letters - when you see an apostrophe that sometimes indicates a missing letter, but

it also has another function, which is to talk about possession, and "possession" means

it belongs to someone.

For example: "This marker belongs to me.

Its mine."

All right?

We have a lesson on engVid, I'd like you to go check it out, on possession and apostrophes.

All right?

But that's another time.

But, here, here's something.

For an example: "St. James's Park".

Not: "St. James Park", "St. James's Park".

For all you grammar nerds, check it out.

And, yeah, there's going to be a link to why it says "James's" with two s'.

Go check that video out.

All right?

Anyway, I want to go and do our little quiz, here, before I go on any further.

Let's just check how much you've learned.

We talked about contractions.

I gave you several examples.

I don't want to do the ones with the missing "g" because I think I said it to you...

You'll hear it in songs, you'll see it in, you know, like writing in books or comic books

or something like that, but it's not something you should make a formal writing of or put

down on paper, but you should understand when someone says: "I ain't saying it's true",

it's different than: "I'm not saying it's true."

In "sayin'", the tongue goes up to the roof of the mouth; and "saying", the tongue goes


I think that was enough on that.

But I do think you should recognize these contractions because informal English...

Informal written English, you will find that it is written down a lot.

And you should understand it or be able to recognize it.

So, I'll give you an example, here: "I will have fries with my burger."

Now: "I will have fries with my burger."

What would be the contraction, here?



"I'll have fries with my burger."

If you want to get the proper pronunciation for "I'll", here's what you do: Think of the

word "eye" and then "ll".

So, you go...

Say the word "eye" in your mind: "I", put your tongue to the top of your mouth: "ll",

you'll go: "I'll.


And that pronunciation is, like, native speaker.

"I'll go to the movies.

I'll do it."


All right.

Let's look at number two.

"Where have you been all day?

Where have you been all day?"

What would be the contraction for this particular sentence?

Yes: "Where've, where've".

"Where've you been?

Where've you been?"


"Where've you been all day?"


All right, not bad.

The next one: "I told her if she walked she would be late.

I told her if she walked she would be late."

What would be the contraction on that one?

Yeah, good, good, good, good, good.

It's: "she'd".

Now, in pronouncing this one, think of the "e" as a very long e: "sheeee'd.

She'd be late".



Not bad.

That's "she would be late".

Number four: "Those are not my shoes.

Those are not my shoes."

How do we say this one?


"aren't, aren't".

And the pronunciation for this one was: Think of the letter "r" and just say "r", "r-nt".


So, "r-nt" and that'll be the correct pronunciation.

So, try not to say: "aren't"; just: "Those r-nt my shoes".

And then what's the last one?

It's a difficult one; I've used two.

Let's see what you can do.

All right?

"I do not know if I would help him."

That's a tiger; if you get the question wrong, it'll eat you.

"I do not know if I would help him.

I do not know if I would help him."

So, we've got two contractions and I've already given you two examples.

Figure out what this sentence should be, while I figure out to put a period at the end of

my sentences.


"I don't know if I'd help him."

Now, when you say: "don't" it's not a "don't"...

How do I say this?

People will say things, like: "dun't.

I dun't know".

You have to say this "o" as in the long "o".



"I don't know."

That'll make it like a native speaker, instead of: "I dun't know".

We don't say: "I dun't".


So: "I don't know if I'd help him."

Well, guys, that's pretty good.

I hope you enjoyed the quiz.

I do have homework.

I hear you groaning or making noises.

Homework's good for you; it's like building muscle.

You work out regularly, you get stronger and healthy.

And if you do it, you know, on a consistent, on a regular basis, you will get stronger


It'll make you feel good.

So, this homework is really fun because...

[Laughs] I want you to watch the video again.

I know, sorry.

"James, you speak so fast and you want me to do this twice?"

I'm like: Yeah.

But this time it'll be easier because you've already gone through the pain of listening

to me one time.

But go through the video, re-watch the video and count how many times I used the contracted


See if you can pick out when I said: "We've", "I'll", and from all the examples, count them.

By doing that-in case you're wondering: Why am I asking you to do that-I'm asking you

to learn how to focus on the sounds that I'm giving you...

Giving you the examples so you can start picking them out in other forms of English or other

examples of English.


There's a method to my madness.

Anyway, listen, I got to go, so I'd like you to subscribe.

There's a button somewhere around here.

Do what you have to; swipe, press, push.


When you see that "Subscribe" button, press it - there should be a bell, please hit the


That's important for you because that means, if you like this video and what I do, you

hit that bell and anything I do that's new will come directly to you on your laptop,

your cellphone, your computer, what have you.

You know?

Anyway, please do so.

Don't forget to go to www eng...

Oh, sorry.

Dot, eng as in English, vid as in video ( and do the quiz, because this is just a junior

version of the monster that waits for you.

All right?

Anyway, have a great day and I'll see you soon.

And as always, thank you very much for sharing your time and sharing with friends.


The Description of English for Beginners: APOSTROPHES for missing letters & contractions