Formal contract

While these types of contracts are not illegal per se, there exists a potential for unconscionability. In addition, in the event of an ambiguity, such ambiguity will be resolved contra proferentem, i.e. against the party drafting the contract language.

A contraction is a shortened version of the spoken and written forms of a word, syllable, or word group, created by omission of internal letters and sounds.

The definition overlaps with the term portmanteau (a linguistic blend), but a distinction can be made between a portmanteau and a contraction by noting that contractions are formed from words that would otherwise appear together in sequence, such as do and not, whereas a portmanteau word is formed by combining two or more existing words that all relate to a singular concept that the portmanteau describes.

To be (am, are, is)

* This form is rarely used.

Had (got)

The short/contracted forms and have have two different long forms:

We seldom use short/contracted forms after names and nouns.

  • Peter a book. = Peter a book.
  • The children London. = The children London.

If have is a full verb, we do not use the short form.


Shortening words when speaking and even when writing is a very common practice in English. Generally, when writing a contracted word, an apostrophe is inserted where a letter is missing. See some examples in sentences:

In English, although contractions also occur in writing, it is in speech that its use is more recurrent. There are, however, some contractions that are widely used in both actions (speech and writing) and that must, therefore, be learned.

We will demonstrate each of them separately, that is, the “Positive Contractions”, or affirmative contractions, and the “Negative Contractions”, or negative contractions.

In this category, we have to be very careful to observe some words in their contract form. That’s because some contractions can have two or even three meanings, but the same spelling. This is the case, for example, of

that can be or. We must take the context into account to know which one it is.

See some examples:

Another contraction that should also be carefully watched is the , because, besides being able to mean or , it can still be used with nouns, names, questions, among others, and not just with pronouns, as is commonly taught.

  • I’m – I’ve – I’ll – I’d
  • You’re – you’ve – you’ll – you’d
  • He’s — he’ll — he’d
  • she’s — she’ll — she’d
  • It’s – It’ll
  • We’re – we’ve – we’ll – we’d
  • They’re – they’ve – they’ll – they’d
  • I am – I have – I will/I shall – I would/I should/I had
  • You are — you have — you will — you had/you would
  • He has/he is — he will — he had/he would
  • She has/she is — she will — she had/she would
  • It has/it is — it will
  • We are — we have — we will — we had/we would
  • They are — they have — they will — they had/they would
  • Abbreviated forms in negative sentence

In the negative form, there are two ways to put the verb “to be” contracted:

In questions, «am not» changes to the form hires «aren’t», as shown in the example:

  • Aren’t – isn’t
  • Can’t – couldn’t
  • Didn’t – doesn’t – don’t
  • Hasn’t – haven’t – hadn’t
  • Mayn’t – mightn’t – mustn’t
  • Needn’t – Oughtn’t
  • Shan’t – shouldn’t
  • Wasn’t – weren’t
  • Won’t – wouldn’t
  • are not — is not
  • Cannot, can not – could not
  • Did not — does not — do not
  • Has not – have not – had not
  • May not – might not – must not
  • Shall not — should not
  • Was not — were not
  • Will not — would not

By Janaína MourãoGraduated in Letters — English

  • I am – I have – I will/I shall – I would/I should/I had
  • You are — you have — you will — you had/you would
  • He has/he is — he will — he had/he would
  • She she has / she is — she will — she had / she would
  • It has/it is — it will
  • We are — we have — we will — we had/we would
  • They are — they have — they will — they had/they would
  • Abbreviated forms in negative sentence

Source: Brazil School —

In recognition of the consumer protection issues which may arise, many governments have passed specific laws relating to standard form contracts. These are generally enacted on a state level as part of general consumer protection legislation and typically allow consumers to avoid clauses that are found to be unreasonable, though the specific provisions vary greatly. Some laws require notice to be given for these clauses to be effective, others prohibit unfair clauses altogether (e.g. Victorian Fair Trading Act 1999).

Section 3 of the Unfair Contract Terms Act 1977 limits the ability of the drafter of consumer or standard form contracts to draft clauses that would allow him to exclude liability in what is termed an exclusion clause – the act does not per se render ineffective provisions in other areas which to the layman appear «unfair». Where a contract has negotiated the provisions of the act likely would not apply – the law protects from a lot of things but openly making a bad bargain is not one of them.

The Standard Form Contract Act 1982 defines a set of depriving conditions that may be canceled by a court of law, including unreasonable exclusion or limitation of liability, unreasonable privileges to unilaterally cancel, suspend or postpone the execution of the contract and to change any fundamental charges or pricing, transfer of liability for the execution of the contract to a third party, unreasonable obligation to use the services of a third party or to limit, in any way, the choice of contracting third parties, denial of legal remedy, unreasonable limitations on contractual remedies or setting unreasonable conditions for the consummation of the remedy, denying or limiting the right for legal procedures, exclusive rights to decide on the location of the trial or arbitration, obligatory arbitration with unilaterally control over the arbitrators or the location of the arbitration and setting the holder of the burden of proof contrary to common law. The act also establishes a Standard Form Contract Court, chaired by a district judge and consists of a maximum of 12 members, appointed by the justice minister, including an acting chairman (also a district judge), civil servants (no more than a third) and, at least, 2 consumer organization representatives. The court holds hearings regarding appeals against standard form contract clauses or approval of a specific standard form contract at the requests of a provider.

In Modern Hebrew, the prepositional prefixes -בְּ /bə-/ ‘in’ and -לְ /lə-/ ‘to’ contract with the definite article prefix -ה (/ha-/) to form the prefixes -ב /ba/ ‘in the’ and -ל /la/ ‘to the’. In colloquial Israeli Hebrew, the preposition את (/ʔet/), which indicates a definite direct object, and the definite article prefix -ה (/ha-/) are often contracted to ‘ת (/ta-/) when the former immediately precedes the latter. Thus ראיתי את הכלב (/ʁaˈʔiti ʔet haˈkelev/, «I saw the dog») may become ראיתי ת’כלב (/ʁaˈʔiti taˈkelev/).

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As a general rule, the common law treats standard form contracts like any other contract. The signature or some other objective manifestation of intent to be legally bound will bind the signor to the contract whether or not they read or understood the terms. The reality of standard form contracting, however, means that many common law jurisdictions have developed special rules with respect to them. In general, in the event of an ambiguity, the courts will interpret standard form contracts contra proferentem (against the party that drafted the contract), as that party (and only that party) had the ability to draft the contract to remove ambiguity.

Contracts of adhesion

For a contract to be treated as a contract of adhesion, it must be presented on a standard form on a «take it or leave it» basis, and give one party no ability to negotiate because of their unequal bargaining position. The special scrutiny given to contracts of adhesion can be performed in a number of ways:

  • If the term was outside of the reasonable expectations of the person who did not write the contract, and if the parties were contracting on an unequal basis, then it will not be enforceable. The reasonable expectation is assessed objectively, looking at the prominence of the term, the purpose of the term and the circumstances surrounding the acceptance of the contract.
  • Section 211 of the American Law Institute’s Restatement (Second) of Contracts, which has persuasive though non-binding force in courts, provides:Where the other party has reason to believe that the party manifesting such assent would not do so if he knew that the writing contained a particular term, the term is not part of the agreement.This is a subjective test focusing on the mind of the seller and has been adopted by only a few state courts.

Shrink wrap contracts

In Canada, exclusion clauses in a standard form contract cannot be relied on where a seller knows or has reason to know a purchaser is mistaken as to its terms (Tilden Rent-A-Car Co. v. Clendenning).

Standard form contracts have generally received little special treatment under Australian common law. A 2003 New South Wales Court of Appeal case (Toll (FGCT) Pty Limited v Alphapharm Pty Limited) gave some support for the position that notice of exceptional terms is required for them to be incorporated. However the defendant successfully appealed to the High Court so currently there is no special treatment of standard form contracts in Australia.

  • Fixed compound is a word phrase used grammatically as a noun or other part of speech (but in this case not a verb) where the phrase is invariant and widely understood. The phrase does not change no matter where it occurs in a sentence or elsewhere, nor can individual elements be substituted with synonyms (but alternatives to the compound may exist). May be considered idiomatic, though the meaning of most were transparent when coined. Many are usually written hyphenated, but this reflects a common preference to hyphenate English compounds (except verbs) containing prepositions. «Fixed» being a matter of degree, in this case it essentially means «standard»—that the contraction is not considered informal is the best sign that it is fixed.
  • In varieties that do not normally mark plurality (so use unmodified you as the pronoun when addressing a single person or group), there may be times when a speaker wants to make clear that they are addressing multiple people by employing you all (or both of you, etc.)—in which case the contraction y’all would never be used. (The contraction is a strong sign of an English variety that normally marks plurality.)

English has a number of contractions, mostly involving the elision of a vowel (which is replaced by an apostrophe in writing), as in I’m for «I am», and sometimes other changes as well, as in won’t for «will not» or ain’t for «am not». These contractions are common in speech and in informal writing, but tend to be avoided in more formal writing (with limited exceptions, such as the mandatory form of «o’clock»).

Contraction is a type of elision, simplifying pronunciation through reducing (dropping or shortening) sounds occurring to a word group.

In informal, spoken German prepositional phrases, one can often merge the preposition and the article; for example, von dem becomes vom, zu dem becomes zum, or an das becomes ans. Some of these are so common that they are mandatory. In informal speech, aufm for auf dem, unterm for unter dem, etc. are also used, but would be considered to be incorrect if written, except maybe in quoted direct speech, in appropriate context and style.

The pronoun es often contracts to s (usually written with the apostrophe) in certain contexts. For example, the greeting Wie geht es? is usually encountered in the contracted form Wie geht’s?.

Local languages in German-speaking areas

Regional dialects of German, and various local languages that usually were already used long before today’s Standard German was created, do use contractions usually more frequently than German, but varying widely between different local languages. The informally spoken German contractions are observed almost everywhere, most often accompanied by additional ones, such as in den becoming in’n (sometimes im) or haben wir becoming hamwer, hammor, hemmer, or hamma depending on local intonation preferences. Bavarian German features several more contractions such as gesund sind wir becoming xund samma, which are schematically applied to all word or combinations of similar sound. (One must remember, however, that German wir exists alongside Bavarian mir, or mia, with the same meaning.) The Munich-born footballer Franz Beckenbauer has as his catchphrase «Schau mer mal» («Schauen wir einmal» — in English «We shall see.»). A book about his career had as its title the slightly longer version of the phrase, «Schau’n Mer Mal».

Such features are found in all central and southern language regions. A sample from Berlin: Sag einmal, Meister, kann man hier einmal hinein? is spoken as Samma, Meesta, kamma hier ma rin?

Mostly, there are no binding orthographies for local dialects of German, hence writing is left to a great extent to authors and their publishers. Outside quotations, at least, they usually pay little attention to print more than the most commonly spoken contractions, so as not to degrade their readability. The use of apostrophes to indicate omissions is a varying and considerably less frequent process than in English-language publications.

Latin contains several examples of contractions. One such case is preserved in the verb nolo (I am unwilling/do not want), which was formed by a contraction of non volo (volo meaning «I want»). Similarly this is observed in the first person plural and third person plural forms (nolumus and nolunt respectively).

In Italian, prepositions merge with direct articles in predictable ways. The prepositions a, da, di, in, su, con and per combine with the various forms of the definite article, namely il, lo, la, l’, i, gli, gl’, and le.

  • Contractions with a, da, di, in, and su are mandatory, but those with con and per are optional.
  • Words in parentheses are no longer very commonly used. However, there’s a difference between pel and pei, which are old-fashioned, and the other contractions of per, which are frankly obsolete. Col and coi are still common; collo, colla, cogli and colle are nowadays rare in the written language, but common in speaking.
  • Formerly, gl’ was often used before words beginning with i, however it is no longer in very common (written) use.
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The words ci and è (form of essere, to be) and the words vi and è are contracted into c’è and v’è (both meaning «there is»).

The words dove and come are contracted with any word that begins with e, deleting the -e of the principal word, as in «Com’era bello!» – «How handsome he / it was!», «Dov’è il tuo amico?» – «Where’s your friend?» The same is often true of other words of similar form, e.g. quale.

Table of Classical Chinese contractions

There is much debate on a theoretical level whether, and to what extent, courts should enforce standard form contracts.

On one hand, they undeniably fulfill an important role of promoting economic efficiency. Standard form contracting reduces transaction costs substantially by avoiding the need for buyers and sellers of goods and services to negotiate the details of a sale contract each time the product is sold.

Standard form contracts are rarely read

Access to the full terms may be difficult or impossible before acceptance

Boilerplate terms are not salient

The most important terms to purchasers of good are generally the price and the quality, which are generally understood before the contract of adhesion is signed. Terms relating to events that have very small probabilities of occurring or which refer to particular statutes or legal rules do not seem important to the purchaser. This further lowers the chance of such terms being read and also means they are likely to be ignored even if they are read.

There may be social pressure to sign

Standard form contracts are signed at a point when the main details of the transaction have either been negotiated or explained. Social pressure to conclude the bargain at that point may come from a number of sources. The salesperson may imply that the purchaser is being unreasonable if they read or question the terms, saying that they are «just something the lawyers want us to do» or that they are wasting their time reading them. If the purchaser is at the front of a queue (for example at an airport car rental desk) there is additional pressure to sign quickly. Finally, if there has been negotiation over price or particular details, then concessions given by the salesperson may be seen as a gift which socially obliges the purchaser to respond by being co-operative and concluding the transaction.

Standard form contracts may exploit unequal power relations

If the good which is being sold using a contract of adhesion is one which is essential or very important for the purchaser to buy (such as a rental property or a needed medical item) then the purchaser might feel they have no choice but to accept the terms. This problem may be mitigated if there are many suppliers of the good who can potentially offer different terms (see below), although even this is not always possible (for instance, a college freshman may be required to sign a standard-form dormitory rental agreement and accept its terms, because the college will not allow a freshman to live off-campus).

Some contend that in a competitive market, consumers have the ability to shop around for the supplier who offers them the most favorable terms and are consequently able to avoid injustice. However, in the case of credit cards (and other oligopolies), for example, the consumer while having the ability to shop around may still have access to only form contracts with like terms and no opportunity for negotiation. Also, as noted, many people do not read or understand the terms so there might be very little incentive for a firm to offer favorable conditions as they would gain only a small amount of business from doing so. Even if this is the case, it is argued by some that only a small percentage of buyers need to actively read standard form contracts for it to be worthwhile for firms to offer better terms if that group is able to influence a larger number of people by affecting the firm’s reputation.

Another factor that might mitigate the effects of competition on the content of contracts of adhesion is that, in practice, standard form contracts are usually drafted by lawyers instructed to construct them so as to minimize the firm’s liability, not necessarily to implement managers’ competitive decisions. Sometimes the contracts are written by an industry body and distributed to firms in that industry, increasing homogeneity of the contracts and reducing consumers’ ability to shop around.

The use of contractions is not allowed in any form of standard Norwegian spelling; however, it is fairly common to shorten or contract words in spoken language. Yet, the commonness varies from dialect to dialect and from sociolect to sociolect—it depends on the formality etc. of the setting. Some common, and quite drastic, contractions found in Norwegian speech are «jakke» for «jeg har ikke», meaning «I do not have» and «dække» for «det er ikke», meaning «there is not». The most frequently used of these contractions—usually consisting of two or three words contracted into one word, contain short, common and often monosyllabic words like jeg, du, deg, det, har or ikke. The use of the apostrophe (‘) is much less common than in English, but is sometimes used in contractions to show where letters have been dropped.

Because of the many dialects of Norwegian and their widespread use it is often difficult to distinguish between non-standard writing of standard Norwegian and eye dialect spelling. It is almost universally true that these spellings try to convey the way each word is pronounced, but it is rare to see language written that does not adhere to at least some of the rules of the official orthography. Reasons for this include words spelled unphonemically, ignorance of conventional spelling rules, or adaptation for better transcription of that dialect’s phonemes.

In Portuguese, contractions are common and much more numerous than those in Spanish. Several prepositions regularly contract with certain articles and pronouns. For instance, de (of) and por (by; formerly per) combine with the definite articles o and a (masculine and feminine forms of «the» respectively), producing do, da (of the), pelo, pela (by the). The preposition de contracts with the pronouns ele and ela (he, she), producing dele, dela (his, her). In addition, some verb forms contract with enclitic object pronouns: e.g., the verb amar (to love) combines with the pronoun a (her), giving amá-la (to love her).

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Another contraction in Portuguese that is similar to English ones is the combination of the pronoun da with words starting in a, resulting in changing the first letter a for an apostrophe and joining both words. Examples: Estrela d’alva (A popular phrase to refer to Venus that means «Alb star», as a reference to its brightness) ; Caixa d’água (water tank).

The French language has a variety of contractions, similar to English but mandatory, as in C’est la vie («That’s life»), where c’est stands for ce + est («that is»). The formation of these contractions is called elision.

Moi («me») and toi (informal «you») mandatorily contract to m’- and t’- respectively after an imperative verb and before the word y or en.

Certain prepositions are also mandatorily merged with masculine and plural direct articles: au for à le, aux for à les, du for de le, and des for de les. However, the contraction of cela (demonstrative pronoun «that») to ça is optional and informal.

In standard Indonesian, there are no contractions applied, although Indonesian contractions exist in Indonesian slang. Many of these contractions are terima kasih to makasih (thank you), kenapa to napa (why), nggak to gak (not), and sebentar to tar (a moment).

Spanish has two mandatory phonetic contractions between prepositions and articles: al (to the) for a el, and del (of the) for de el (not to be confused with a él, meaning to him, and de él, meaning his or, more literally, of him).

Other contractions were common in writing until the 17th century, the most usual being de + personal and demonstrative pronouns: destas for de estas (of these, fem.), daquel for de aquel (of that, masc.), dél for de él (of him) etc.; and the feminine article before words beginning with a-: l’alma for la alma, now el alma (the soul). Several sets of demonstrative pronouns originated as contractions of aquí (here) + pronoun, or pronoun + otro/a (other): aqueste, aqueso, estotro etc. The modern aquel (that, masc.) is the only survivor of the first pattern; the personal pronouns nosotros (we) and vosotros (pl. you) are remnants of the second. In medieval texts, unstressed words very often appear contracted: todol for todo el (all the, masc.), ques for que es (which is); etc. including with common words, like d’ome (d’home/d’homme) instead de ome (home/homme), and so on.

Though not strictly a contraction, a special form is used when combining con with mí, ti, or sí, which is written as conmigo for *con mí (with me), contigo for *con ti (with you sing.), consigo for *con sí (with himself/herself/itself/themselves (themself).)

Some contractions in rapid speech include ~っす (-ssu) for です (desu) and すいません (suimasen) for すみません (sumimasen). では (dewa) is often contracted to じゃ (ja). In certain grammatical contexts the particle の (no) is contracted to simply ん (n).

When used after verbs ending in the conjunctive form ~て (-te), certain auxiliary verbs and their derivations are often abbreviated. Examples:

* this abbreviation is never used in the polite conjugation, to avoid the resultant ambiguity between an abbreviated ikimasu (go) and the verb kimasu (come).

The ending ~なければ (-nakereba) can be contracted to ~なきゃ (-nakya) when it is used to indicate obligation. It is often used without an auxiliary, e.g., 行かなきゃ(いけない) (ikanakya (ikenai)) «I have to go.»

Other times, contractions are made to create new words or to give added or altered meaning:

  • The word 何か (nanika) «something» is contracted to なんか (nanka) to make a colloquial word with a meaning along the lines of «sort of,» but that can be used with almost no meaning. Its usage is as a filler word is similar to English «like.»
  • じゃない (ja nai) «is not» is contracted to じゃん (jan), which is used at the end of statements to show the speaker’s belief or opinion, often when it is contrary to that of the listener, e.g., いいじゃん! (ii jan!) «What, it’s fine!»
  • The commonly used particle-verb phrase という (to iu) is often contracted to ~って/~て/~っつー (-tte/-te/-ttsū) to give a more informal or noncommittal feeling.
  • The common words だ (da) and です (desu) are older contractions that originate from である (de aru) and でございます (de gozaimasu). These are fully integrated into the language now, and are not generally thought of as contractions; however in formal writing (e.g., literature, news articles, or technical/scientific writing), である (de aru) is used in place of だ (da).
  • The first-person singular pronoun 私 is pronounced わたくし (watakushi) in very formal speech, but commonly contracted to わたし(watashi) in less formal speech, and further clipped in specifically younger women’s speech to あたし (atashi).

Various dialects of Japanese also use their own specific contractions that are often unintelligible to speakers of other dialects.

Some of the contractions in standard Dutch:

Informal Belgian Dutch utilizes a wide range of non-standard contractions, such as, for example, «hoe’s’t» (from «hoe is het?» — how are you?), «hij’s d’r» (from «hij is daar» — he’s there), «w’ebbe’ goe’ g’ete'» (from «we hebben goed gegeten» — we had eaten well) and «wa’s da’?» (from «wat is dat?» — what is that?. Some of these contractions:

  • 1700, 1701, 1702, 1703 Sir William Hope of Kirkliston vs. William Gordon of Balcomy, Decision of the Lords of Council and Session reported by Sir John Lauder of Fountainhall in Fountainhall, p. 559, accessed 17 October 2020
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    Also refer to each State and Territory Fair Trading Department’s websites.
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