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Lesson 6.3

Short Forms

Las formas cortas
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The use of short forms is very common in English, particularly in colloquial English and in informal situations.

Verbs in the present tense which have short forms are “to be”, “to have got” and “to have” (when used as an auxiliary verb). There is also a short form for the verb “to do”, but only when it is used as an auxiliary verb and only in the negative.

1. To be

Afirmativo Forma corta Negativo Forma corta
I am   I’m I am not   I’m not
you are   you’re you are not   you’re not
  you aren’t
he is   he’s he is not   he’s not
  he isn’t
she is   she’s she is not   she’s not
  she isn’t
it is   it’s it is not   it’s not
  it isn’t
we are   we’re we are not   we’re not
  we aren’t
they are   they’re they are not   they’re not
  they aren’t

Examples:

 I’m happy.
 You’re tall.
 She’s pretty.
 It’s 10:00.
 He’s not here. / He isn’t here.
 They’re not Spanish. / They aren’t Spanish.

2. To have got

Affirmative Short form Negative Short form
I have got   I’ve got I have not got   I’ve not got
  I haven’t got
you have got   you’ve got you have not got   you’ve not got
  you haven’t got
he has got   he’s got he has not got   he’s not got
  he hasn’t
she has got   she’s got she has not got   she’s not got
  she hasn’t got
it has got   it’s got it has not got   it’s not got
  it hasn’t got
we have got   we’ve got we have not got   we’ve not got
  we haven’t got
they have got   they’ve got they have not got   they’ve not got
  they haven’t got

Examples:

 I’ve got a car.
 You’ve got blue eyes.
 He’s got big feet.
 It’s [the cat] not got a home. / It hasn’t got a home.
 They’ve not got children. / They haven’t got children.
Note: We do not use the short form of “to have” when it is used as the principal verb; only when it is used as the auxiliary verb (as we will see in the lesson on the present perfect tense).

When “to have” is the principal verb, we cannot say:

I’ve car.
He’s blue eyes.
Note: We do not use the short form of “to have” when it is used as the principal verb; only when it is used as the auxiliary verb (as we will see in the lesson on the present perfect tense).

When “to have” is the principal verb, we cannot say:

I’ve car.
He’s blue eyes.

3. To do

The verb “to do” only has a short form when it is used as an auxiliary verb and only in the negative.

Negative Short Form
I do not   I don’t
you do not   you don’t
he does not   he doesn’t
she does not   she doesn’t
it does not   it doesn’t
we do not   we don’t
they do not   they don’t

Examples:

 I don’t know.
 She doesn’t like ice cream.
 It doesn’t snow here.
 We don’t have children.

Note: For more information on the use of “to do” as an auxiliary verb, see the lessons on verbs, constructing sentences and the present simple.

Note: For more information on the use of “to do” as an auxiliary verb, see the lessons on verbs, constructing sentences and the present simple.

4. In addition to personal pronouns, we can use short forms with interrogative pronouns such as “what” and “where”, as well as the following: “here”, “there”, and “that”. In these cases, the short form only exists in the singular (“is”).

Examples:

 Where’s the concert?
 Who’s that?
 How’s your father?
 Here’s the book.
 That’s mine.
Long Form Short Form
What is   What’s
Who is   Who’s
When is   When’s
Where is   Where’s
How is   How’s
Here is   Here’s
There is   There’s
That is   That’s

Note: There are more short forms in other verb tenses which we will see in later lessons.

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6.2 To Be

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