Contractions are shortened forms of words, in which one or more letters have been left out and replaced by an apostrophe.

Informal Emails

Generally speaking, contractions, just like in spoken English, are very commonly used in informal emails. In the world of business correspondence, contractions can be used to communicate with clients or colleagues in a friendly, conversational tone.

Formal Emails

The advice on whether to use contractions in formal emails varies slightly, depending on the source. However, most agree that contractions are to be avoided when possible in formal emails. So, when writing a formal email, it is more acceptable to use “do not” instead of “don’t”, “it is” instead of “it’s”, and so on. That being stated, there are greatly varying levels of formality in English emails, and we can see that contractions are becoming increasingly more common, even in some formal writing, to create emails that are easier to read and more natural.

When choosing whether to use contractions or not in your emails, the best advice is simply to write in the style that is most appropriate for your specific audience, taking into account the culture of the organization you work for. For example, if you are responding to a very formal email of complaint from a new client that could potentially create important business opportunities for your company, it would be wise to adapt a more formal style without contractions.

Now, have a look below at some of the more common contractions in English emails.

Full FormContraction
I amI’m
he ishe’s
it isit’s
she isshe’s
they arethey’re
we arewe’re
you areyou’re
I haveI’ve
it hasit’s
he hashe’s
she hasshe’s
they havethey’ve
you haveyou’ve
we havewe’ve
I hadI’d
it hadit’d
he hadhe’d
she hadshe’d
they hadthey’d
you hadyou’d
we hadwe’d
Question words + ‘is’ 
Full formContraction/short form
How isHow’s
What isWhat’s
When isWhen’s
Where isWhere’s
Who isWho’s
Why isWhy’s
Negative Contractions 
Full formContraction
are notaren’t
were notweren’t
do notdon’t
did notdidn’t
has nothasn’t
have nothaven’t
had nothadn’t
is notisn’t
was notwasn’t
can notcan’t
could notcouldn’t
must notmustn’t
might notmightn’t
should notshouldn’t
will notwon’t
would notwouldn’t

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