Using apostrophes to contract and combine words

Learning focus

To use apostrophes correctly to contract and combine words.

In Years 3 & 4, students are aiming to:

  • use apostrophes to show where a letter or letters would be if the words were written in full (eg, it's = it is).


Sometimes we contract words to make them easier to say or write. This means that we combine them together and make them smaller.

For example: She will = she'll

We use an apostrophe for contraction to show when we have done this.

Watch this short clip to learn how and when to use apostrophes for contraction.

Apostrophes for contraction show that you omitted (left out) some letters when you joined them together.

For example: You + are = you're

The apostrophe takes the place of the letters that have been removed. In the example above, that’s the letter a from 'are'.

Sometimes you need to rearrange the letters a bit when you combine them.

For example: Will + not = won't

Joining words together like this makes your writing easier to read and more friendly.

Watch this video to revise apostrophes for contraction.

Focus on the words that are highlighted in green.


You may need paper and a pen or pencil for some of these activities.

Activity 1

Check how well you understood the videos by completing this short activity.

You need to type the contracted (shortened) form of the words.

Activity 2

Now have a go at using contracted words in your own writing.

Write five sentences. Each sentence must include one of the following contraction words:

  • don't (do not)

  • won't (will not)

  • she'll (she will)

  • can't (can not)

  • he'll (he will)

For example: I don't want to go to bed!

Activity 3

Complete this quiz. You need to click where the missing apostrophe should go for each contraction.

You only get one chance so be careful with your clicks!

Where next?

In this lesson you have learnt the functions of apostrophes and how to use them to contract and combine words.

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