English Lessons


Colloquial Contractions in American English, Part III

This lesson is Part III of a series. Let's continue discussing some of the ways that words are shortened in casual speech in American English that are not used in formal writing. "Colloquial" means "casual" as opposed to "formal," and a "contraction" is just the shortening of words.


Hey, my little old friend, whatcha gonna do?    
Caption 12, Royalchord: Good Times


We discussed in a previous lesson that "gonna" is a contraction of "going to," thus "whatcha gonna do" is the colloquial equivalent of "what are you going to do."


'Cause you feel like home
'Cause I've been by myself all night long
'Cause nobody told me that you'd be here
Captions 5-19, Adele:When We Were Young


Normally the word "cause" is either a verb or noun, meaning the reason that something happens ("What is causing the problem? What is the cause of the problem?"). But in this case with the apostrophe in front of it, it is just a contraction of the preposition "because."


If you had a life we'd ask you to sorta give that life up.
Caption 38, World's Toughest Job: Official Video


Like many contractions, you can probably easily guess from the sound that "sorta" is a contraction of "sort of."


Lotsa bands playing there, like pretty much every night of the week.    
Caption 25, Turn Here Productions: Belltown, WA


The contraction "lotsa" is short for the informal "lots of" or "a lot of," meaning the same as the more proper "many," but without even saving any syllables!


C'mon, man. Fallen off over and over and over again.
Caption 30, Chris Sharma, World's best rock climber 


You may not even notice when somebody says "come on" quickly in speech, but it's good to know how the contraction is written as well!


Further Learning
Watch this video on Yabla English to learn about more contractions, and search the videos on Yabla English for more examples of these colloquial contractions used in a real world context.

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