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Don’t Trip Over This! - Contractions

Quiz playing is a wonderful way to increase your knowledge of English as a Second Language. Remember that all of our ESL quizzes have titles that are both friendly and technical at the same time… In the case of this quiz you might like to tell your friends about “Don’t Trip Over This!” but no doubt your teachers will talk about the “Contractions quiz”! If you hear a technical term and you want to find a quiz about the subject then just look through the list of quiz titles until you find what you need.

Spoken and casual written English use a lot of contractions ('Don't they?')... Here is an opportunity for you to practise forming and using contractions fluently.

Don't trip over this... it's not particularly tricky!

  1. Choose the answer that fills the gap/s most accurately.
    ' ... ... need to go back specially into the village in the pouring rain to fetch them, then, ... ... ?'
    ('I shall [or: will], ... shan't I?')
    Technically, 'sha'n't' needs two apostrophes, because it has been shortened in more than one separate place ('sha-[ll]-n-[o]-t'), but most writers regard it as too old-fashioned and pedantic to put in both of them.
    Answer 3 is wrong because, unlike in some other languages, in English we do not usually 'have need': 'need' can work just as easily as a verb, in its own right.
  2. Choose the answer that fills the gap/s most accurately.
    'There are plenty of interesting things for your aunt to do and visit in Britain, but the problem is that she ... ... like the climate.'
    (Short for 'does-not')
  3. Choose the answer that fills the gap/s most accurately.
    'She ... ... be going to any parties at the weekend, unless she ... ... her homework finished by Thursday.'
    'Won't' is a multiple contraction ( = 'will not' ), but we just have one apostrophe.
    There is no need for any kind or place of apostrophe in 'gets', since no letter has been left out of it.
  4. Choose the answer that fills the gap/s most accurately.
    ' ... ... there any fresher vegetables than this, at the market today?'
    'Were not ... ' (This begins in the plural already, because it goes on to refer to more than one vegetable.)
  5. Choose the answer that fills the gap/s most accurately.
    'Such sad news about the old Grand Pier : ... ... been saying for years that ... ... going to fall apart, and now ... ... collapsed completely.'
    ( 'They have ... / ... it is ... / ... it has ... ')
    Note that 'it is' and 'it has' end up with the same contraction.
    The form 'it's' is fine as a short substitute for each or either of these; there is also the word 'its' (with no apostrophe at all) meaning 'belonging to it' (e.g. 'seeing an animal in its natural habitat'). There is NO real version with an apostrophe AFTER the 's'. (What would it mean?)
  6. Choose the answer that fills the gap/s most accurately.
    ' ... ... had a lovely time, ... ... they ?'
    ( 'Everyone has ... , have they not ?')
  7. Choose the answer that fills the gap/s most accurately.
    ' ... ... he getting on with the new couple ... ... moved into the upstairs flat?'
    ( 'How is ... who have ... ?')
  8. Choose the answer that fills the gap/s most accurately.
    'I ... ... imagine ... ... put their muddy footprints all over our nice clean carpet.'
    ('I cannot imagine who has ...')
  9. Choose the answer that fills the gap/s most accurately.
    'Since ... ... put up the prices, ... ... have to expect fewer customers.'
    'Since they have ... they will ... '
    If we were avoiding Contractions completely, Answer 1 makes adequate sense as it stands ~ referring, more or less, to a (Present) 'rule of life', i.e. that if 'they' make one change, 'they' should expect consequences to follow.
  10. Choose the answer that fills the gap/s most accurately.
    'They ... ... expected so many people to come; but ... ... so generous, with that big house of theirs, that it ... ... upset their plans at all.'
    ( ' ... had not ... / ... they are ... / ... did not ... ' )
    Beware of confusing 'they're' ( = 'they are') with the more common spellings that sound the same: 'there' ( = in that place ) / 'their' (belonging to them).

Author: Ian Miles

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