"I am" or "I'm" ?

OlivierG

Senior Member
France / Français
Hello,

I would like to know (I'd like ?) when I can use these abbreviations.
Are they really colloquial, can I use them in e-mails or letters to friends, customers, administration, or on this forum ?
Are some of them more allowed than the others :
I'm - I am
I can't - I cannot
I don't - I do not
I'd - I would/I should
I've - I have
You'll - You will
etc.
Can I write the "long" form, or will it appear as affected?

Thanks !
 
  • Silvia

    Senior Member
    Italian
    I can tell you what I do...
    I only use the long form in formal letters and texts, i.e. for business, and the short form with friends and in most emails, 'cause emails usually look less formal then a letter on headed paper, and their main purpose is to be quicker.
     

    Focalist

    Senior Member
    European Union, English
    silviap said:
    I can tell you what I do...
    I only use the long form in formal letters and texts, i.e. for business, and the short form with friends and in most emails, 'cause emails usually look less formal then a letter on headed paper, and their main purpose is to be quicker.
    I agree regarding contractions. You wouldn't normally write "would not" in an informal note; "we've" in a business letter, though, can look over-informal.

    Can I just be impertinent enough to say, though, silviap, that I have misgivings about your use of 'cause for "because".

    1. For me the spelling 'cause is something you find in written dialogue where the writer is consciously trying to indicate "colloquial" or childish speech:
    -- Why can't I have it?
    -- 'Cause it's mine.
    Otherwise, if it's meant to be your own words, it's saying "Hey, look at me: I know the word "because", and how to spell it, but I'm being really cool (yeah?) by spelling it 'cause -- the way it sounds on the street".

    2. If you really want to be hyper-informal (and it is much more informal than "can't" or "I'd"), the way to write it is cos (or coz):
    -- I know it's true cos she told me.

    3. The person who writes 'cause is saying: I know the "correct form" of the word perfectly well: here am I self-consciously writing down the colloquial form. If you really want to write the way you talk, you don't bother with 'cause (with its conspicuous apostrophe!) = (be)cause: you just go straight ahead and write cos!

    F
     

    OlivierG

    Senior Member
    France / Français
    Thanks for these comments.
    So about the contractions, here should be the proper way to handle them:
    I can't (cannot) use them
    - on my website
    - in any business letters, or letters to an administration
    - in my e-mails to customers, except if I know them well

    I can use them :
    - in my letters or e-mails to either friends or personal contacts
    - in a forum like this one (aren't we all friends after all ? ;))

    I have to be careful not to overuse them :
    - because has not to be written 'cause, cos, or cuz
    - For you has not to be written 4u ;)

    But are all the others equivalent in term of colloquialness - I like to invent new words-?
    I'm OK for :
    I'm, I'll, can't, don't, doesn't, couldn't, won't, it's, isn't etc
    but can I also use in the same way :
    You've, you'd, you're etc ?
    And if I write the long forms in a letter to a friend, could it be interpreted as coldness or distance?

    And, a last question:
    Can I, in my answers to e-mails sent to my company's tech support, start by
    "Hi,
    You wrote:"
    or may I use instead something like:
    "Dear Sir/Madam,
    You wrote:"
    ?
     

    Silvia

    Senior Member
    Italian
    I very often find that: Good morning, good afternoon and the alike will work to start any email with... not too formal and not too informal, especially for us (I'm including Italian & French speaking people) using Lei and Vous which leave no room for doubt!

    Focalist, you really made me smile there! :D
    Some also type coz, I just prefer cause, but I was worried about your possible reprehension and typed 'cause :D This is a free world, isn't it?!
     

    OlivierG

    Senior Member
    France / Français
    silviap said:
    I very often find that: Good morning, good afternoon and the alike will work to start any email with... not too formal and not too informal, especially for us (I'm including Italian & French speaking people) using Lei and Vous which leave no room for doubt!
    Good idea, but not easy. Sorry for pointing out again technical issues, but it prevents to use a general template for my e-mails (my mail program cannot change the template according to the current time), and it becomes meaningless when time zones are involved.
     

    VenusEnvy

    Senior Member
    English, United States
    OlivierG said:
    And, a last question:
    Can I, in my answers to e-mails sent to my company's tech support, start by
    "Hi,"
    or may I use instead something like:
    "Dear Sir/Madam,"

    Using "Hi" is a business letter is inappropriate.
    Using "Dear Sir/Madam" seems perfect.

    (Does anyone know a link to a forum long ago that discussed the informal and formal greetings in full????? It was about 3 months ago or so)
     

    fleuriste-du-mal

    Member
    US - English
    I remember being at a party in New York with an Austrian friend and a guy came up and asked him, "Got a cig?" My friend didn't understand and the guy explained, "A cig. A cigarette. You don't gotta say the whole thing. 'You got a cigarette?' You just say, 'Got a cig?"
    I of course immediately told my friend ... NEVER say 'got a cig' ... unless you're trying to sound like a thug.

    I don't know if 'cos' or 'cuz' is a Britishism or if it's the kind of baby-talk that has all the kids today writing 'kewl' for 'cool' and 'boi' for 'boy' but I would strongly suggest against using it, at least if writing to someone in the States. (And over 30?)

    As for 'cause the only thing that makes it smack of forced colloquialism is the opening apostrophe. Just write cause if you want to though. Likewise till for until is fine, but 'til is forced, or poetic.
     

    jacinta

    Senior Member
    USA English
    fleuriste-du-mal said:
    As for 'cause the only thing that makes it smack of forced colloquialism is the opening apostrophe. Just write cause if you want to though. Likewise till for until is fine, but 'til is forced, or poetic.


    Just keep in mind that all forms of because should be written as this: because That's the word and that's how it is written. Say it however you like. With a z, an s, or an l, m, n, o, p, who cares. But when writing, you should use the proper word, especially those whose native language is not English.

    Another point on this: Cause is a different word that 'cause. The apostrophe is necessary (if you insist on spelling it this way!) to show the omission of the letters "b-e".

    Just my opinion. And yes, I'm over 30!!
     

    fleuriste-du-mal

    Member
    US - English
    Actually "cause" (the conjunction, not the verb "to cause," and without apostrophe) has been used in English since the 1500s. Christopher Marlowe used it that way. And Shakespeare: "... and cause he failed his presence at the tyrant's feast, I hear MacDuff lives in disgrace." That's good enough for me.

    Historically the conjunction started out as the phrase "by cause of". This got shortened either to "because" or just to "cause" at about the same time. Somewhere along the way someone figured "cause" must be a shortening of "because" and added the apostophe at the beginning: 'cause. That mistake has been being passed along for four hundred years.

    Same thing with 'til. People had been using both "till" and "until" in English for centuries. At some point someone decides that "till" must be an abbreviated form of "until" and invents 'til.

    Don't use 'cause. Don't use 'til. But "cause" and "till" are both fine English words.

    Hope that makes sense.
     

    jacinta

    Senior Member
    USA English
    fleuriste-du-mal said:
    Actually "cause" (the conjunction, not the verb "to cause," and without apostrophe) has been used in English since the 1500s. Christopher Marlowe used it that way. And Shakespeare: "... and cause he failed his presence at the tyrant's feast, I hear MacDuff lives in disgrace." That's good enough for me.

    Historically the conjunction started out as the phrase "by cause of". This got shortened either to "because" or just to "cause" at about the same time. Somewhere along the way someone figured "cause" must be a shortening of "because" and added the apostophe at the beginning: 'cause. That mistake has been being passed along for four hundred years.

    Same thing with 'til. People had been using both "till" and "until" in English for centuries. At some point someone decides that "till" must be an abbreviated form of "until" and invents 'til.

    Don't use 'cause. Don't use 'til. But "cause" and "till" are both fine English words.

    Hope that makes sense.

    I have never heard this word used as a conjuction before. I looked it up in my dictionary. Cause is listed as a noun and a transitive verb, not as a conjuction or any abbreviation for the conjunction "because". Possibly you are using a dictionary that shows it this way??

    The cause of the flood was the broken dam.

    There was a flood because the dam broke.

    The broken dam caused a flood.
     

    fleuriste-du-mal

    Member
    US - English
    Well the OED does, but I learned a long time ago to let the wording of writers I respect guide me more than dictionaries. That's why I like the OED (and the Littré and the Robert in French). The focus is on recording usage.
     

    jacinta

    Senior Member
    USA English
    I suppose... but if we all wrote and spoke like Shakespeare and Marlowe, we'd have a different language, wouldn't we? We're talking Modern English here.
     

    Silvia

    Senior Member
    Italian
    Wow, much ado about nothing! :D

    Jacinta said:
    The apostrophe is necessary (if you insist on spelling it this way!) to show the omission of the letters "b-e".

    That's what I thought, too.

    fleuriste-du-mal, thank you for the clear explanation. I see your point and I agree with you.
     

    hormiguita

    Senior Member
    San Diego, Calif. (English)
    Cos is definitely a Britishism, but cuz is from the States, if I'm not mistaken...
    Both are fine to use in spoken (informal) English, but I wouldn't use them in writing unless it's very, very informal.
     

    David

    Banned
    If I receive any communication from a stranger that begins "Good morning, Mr. _________," or worse yet,"Good morning, David," I just assume somebody is getting awfully chummy for no good reason, because he is going to try to sell me something I don´t want. Very annoying.
     

    OlivierG

    Senior Member
    France / Français
    garryknight said:
    I'd isn't short for I should, only for I would and I had.
    Thanks for the info.
    Thanks also to all who answered the questions I asked, as well as the questions I did not. :)
    I will then try to use the apostrophe in an appropriate way from now. (oops, shouldn't I write "I'll" there?)

    Level of language is probably the most complex thing to handle for a foreign speaker/writer.
     

    Focalist

    Senior Member
    European Union, English
    OlivierG said:
    Thanks for these comments.
    So about the contractions, here should be the proper way to handle them:
    I can't (cannot) use them
    - on my website
    - in any business letters, or letters to an administration
    - in my e-mails to customers, except if I know them well

    I can use them :
    - in my letters or e-mails to either friends or personal contacts
    - in a forum like this one (aren't we all friends after all ? ;))

    I have to be careful not to overuse them :
    - because has not to be written 'cause, cos, or cuz
    - For you has not to be written 4u ;)

    But are all the others equivalent in term of colloquialness - I like to invent new words-?
    I'm OK for :
    I'm, I'll, can't, don't, doesn't, couldn't, won't, it's, isn't etc
    but can I also use in the same way :
    You've, you'd, you're etc ?
    And if I write the long forms in a letter to a friend, could it be interpreted as coldness or distance?

    And, a last question:
    Can I, in my answers to e-mails sent to my company's tech support, start by
    "Hi,
    You wrote:"
    or may I use instead something like:
    "Dear Sir/Madam,
    You wrote:"
    ?
    Olivier, I had almost completed this reply early yesterday, when I was called away by an urgent message and never got round to sending it. I see you've had plenty of replies in the meantime, but here's my delayed reply anyway -- better late, I hope, than never.

    Those are very good questions, Olivier; and, like all good questions, not easy to answer.

    Even so, I think you have got it about right with the rules you propose. I will just add the following comments:

    -- Even e-mails can be formal on occasion. If it's the kind of business e-mail which is really a substitute for a letter and is likely to be kept for reference and possibly quoted back from, it's safest to err on the side of formality and avoid contractions (even: to use conventional salutations and endings like "Dear..." and "Yours...", etc.).

    -- In most work-related e-mails, however -- to colleagues, or even customers once you've established some kind of personal contact -- write as you would speak on the phone: i.e. you can freely use pronoun+modal contractions like "I'd", "she's", "they'll", or the "-n't" series ("can't", "won't", "needn't", etc.). I'd still be wary, though, of such things as "could've" which (besides leading to the slippery slope which ends in "could of" :() are, like "'cause", more in the line of graphic representations of elided pronunciation than alternative ways (like "will not" and "won't") of saying the same thing.

    -- Where you are in the fortunate position of having received the first e-mail in an exchange, the safest guide is to try to match the tone and register used by the sender (wherever the original message is not itself clearly way off-key!).

    -- As for purely personal e-mails, of course, anything goes: from "give 'em" (= give them), through "gonna" (going to) and "gotcha" (got you), to "mobile-phone textese" like L8R (later), if you think your correspondent will understand it. Personally, I can (just about) understand those who want to save characters and, above all, fiddly thumb work when texting, but can't see that "L8R" is a whole lot easier to type on a conventional keyboard than "later".

    Getting the linguistic register right is probably the hardest part of non-native language use. I know that, however formally correct my German word-order may be, however many French idioms I know, whatever my acquaintance with Spanish irregular verbs, I am condemned, the longer I live outside the countries where those languages are spoken, more and more frequently to make register errors.

    I once wrote a piece, intended for advanced learners of English, something along the lines of "101 Signs that the Writer is not a Native Speaker of English"; I've forgotten the exact title, but I do remember that the greatest "sins" were misplacement of adverbs and, well out in front of that, inappropriate informality in formal texts: using contractions like "can't" and forms like "lots of" instead of "many", "maybe" for "perhaps" or "possibly", and "as well" instead of "also" or "additionally".

    If inappropriate choices on the formality-informality scale are the greatest hazard of all, they can sometimes also be the funniest, however; as in this Monty Python sketch.

    F
     

    Focalist

    Senior Member
    European Union, English
    garryknight said:
    I'd isn't short for I should, only for I would and I had.
    I beg to differ, gk. Take these sentences:

    -- I should like to congratulate all those involved.
    -- I should be happy to answer any questions you may have.

    In both cases, the first two words can be contracted to "I'd".

    I think you mean that "should" cannot be shortened when it is the "should of obligation" (no 1 below) and carries a stress -- as opposed to the "condtional should" (no 2), which is unstressed.

    1. I should use the car less but public transport is so expensive. (I should = I ought to)
    2. I should use the car less if public transport weren't so expensive. (I'd use... is possible)

    F
     

    OlivierG

    Senior Member
    France / Français
    Thanks a lot for these details, Focalist, this will help me a lot in my daily work!
    I won't use the abbreviations like "L8R" anyway, because it's a pain for me to read such messages. By the way, most of the messages like these are originating from Australian customers, is it a coincidence?

    However, one of my question remains unanswered :
    if I use the plain forms in my messages to somebody who uses apostrophes, can it be misinterpreted as distance, or even arrogance ?
    (By experience, I know that my mistakes are often considered as arrogance because of the well-known cliché about French people)
     

    Silvia

    Senior Member
    Italian
    Focalist said:
    I once wrote a piece, intended for advanced learners of English, something along the lines of "101 Signs that the Writer is not a Native Speaker of English"

    May I read your piece? I'm very interested in it.

    OlivierG said:
    if I use the plain forms in my messages to somebody who uses apostrophes, can it be misinterpreted as distance, or even arrogance ?
    (By experience, I know that my mistakes are often considered as arrogance because of the well-known cliché about French people)

    Focalist answered your question!
    -- Where you are in the fortunate position of having received the first e-mail in an exchange, the safest guide is to try to match the tone and register used by the sender (wherever the original message is not itself clearly way off-key!).
    And, by the way, I guess "stereotype" is more appropriate there, instead of cliché.
     

    Focalist

    Senior Member
    European Union, English
    OlivierG said:
    one of my question remains unanswered :
    if I use the plain forms in my messages to somebody who uses apostrophes, can it be misinterpreted as distance, or even arrogance ?
    Yes, distance and, if not "arrogance", then definite coolness.

    I read somewhere that if you want to break off a correspondence, i.e. do not want your correspondent to reply, the best way to do it is to adopt a markedly more formal style:

    -- Can't we just carry on like before?
    -- I do not think that that would be appropriate.

    On the other hand, if you increase the level of informality, you risk giving the false impression that you have become an intimate friend-for-life!

    Sigh... Not easy, is it?

    F
     

    OlivierG

    Senior Member
    France / Français
    I wrote:
    if I use the plain forms in my messages to somebody who uses apostrophes, can it be misinterpreted as distance, or even arrogance ?
    (By experience, I know that my mistakes are often considered as arrogance because of the well-known cliché about French people)
    Silviap answered:
    Focalist answered your question!
    Not really, I understood I can use apostrophes if my customer does, but my question was. What about if I don't ?
    And, by the way, I guess "stereotype" is more appropriate there, instead of cliché.
    Is it? I thought "cliché" was appropriate here. I though "stereotype" has the underlying meaning it's true.

    Then Focalist wrote:
    Yes, distance and, if not "arrogance", then definite coolness.

    I read somewhere that if you want to break off a correspondence, i.e. do not want your correspondent to reply, the best way to do it is to adopt a markedly more formal style:

    -- Can't we just carry on like before?
    -- I do not think that would be appropriate.

    On the other hand, if you increase the level of informality, you risk giving the false impression that you have become an intimate friend-for-life!

    Sigh... Not easy, is it?
    Now my questions are all answered. Thanks a lot! :)
     

    Silvia

    Senior Member
    Italian
    Cliché: a trite phrase or expression; also : the idea expressed by it

    Stereotype: something conforming to a fixed or general pattern; especially, a standardized mental picture that is held in common by members of a group and that represents an oversimplified opinion, prejudiced attitude, or uncritical judgment.
     

    OlivierG

    Senior Member
    France / Français
    Thanks, Silviap!
    It is funny to see how a French word can change its meaning when used in another language.
    In French, "un cliché" as the meaning of "stereotype" in English (but generally infering that the opinion/picture is wrong), while "un stéréotype" is something that represents perfectly a concept.
    For example:
    "Dire que l'amour est plus fort que tout est un cliché" == "Saying love is stronger that everything else is a stereotype"
    "Son mari est le stéréotype du macho" == "Her husband is the perfect example of a macho"
     

    fleuriste-du-mal

    Member
    US - English
    Well this is a whole 'nother discussion ...

    (sorry that's some bad English that I happen to love)

    No, you can't say "Saying love is stronger than everything is a stereotype." A saying cannot be a stereotype, it's a cliché. Though anyone who says that could be called a stereotypical romantic. It would be more natural, though, just to say "a typical romantic."

    As for "the perfect example of macho" ... again you could say "typical macho" or you can use another word we borrowed and played with: epitome

    He's the epitome of a "macho"

    One of the more peculiar traits of desynonymization in English is that when we change the meaning of a word we usually just end up making it synonymous with something else.
     

    OlivierG

    Senior Member
    France / Français
    OK. Then another word : epitome.

    So is "French people are arrogant" a cliché or a stereotype (or a matter of fact;))?

    If it's said, then it's a cliché, and if it's thought, it is a stereotype ?
    And if I am really arrogant, then I am the epitome of a French, or a typical French.

    Am I right ?
     

    garryknight

    Senior Member
    UK, English
    Focalist said:
    I beg to differ, gk. Take these sentences:

    -- I should like to congratulate all those involved.
    -- I should be happy to answer any questions you may have.

    In both cases, the first two words can be contracted to "I'd".
    I understand your point, though I'd never use 'should' in those sentences, myself. Although demonstrating perfectly grammatically correct use of this particular auxiliary verb in the subjunctive mood, to my ear these examples sound decidedly old-fashioned and somewhat stilted. And I've just found this in Gowers' The Complete Plain Words (published 1948, reprinted 1979) in the section on would and should:

    In such a phrase as 'In reply to your letter of ... I would inform you ...' would is not a mere auxiliary expressing the conditional mood; it retains the now archaic meaning of 'I should like to'.
    So it was old-fashioned even in 1948.

    I don't have a good English grammar to hand, and I don't have time to trawl the net, so I'll accept your judgement. Fowler's doesn't include 'should' in its section on contractions, though the section on 'should' contains this:
    One feature that stands out is the frequency of would (or 'd) compared with that of should ...
    which appears to take 'd as a contraction only for 'should', although I can see how it might be taken either way.

    Focalist said:
    I think you mean that "should" cannot be shortened when it is the "should of obligation"
    No, I meant that "I should" can't be shortened to "I'd", though I concede that I might be wrong on this point. I've a niggling feeling that I might have been wrong once before, many many decades ago... ;)
     

    Tormenta

    Senior Member
    Argentina-Español
    Focalist said:
    I agree regarding contractions. You wouldn't normally write "would not" in an informal note; "we've" in a business letter, though, can look over-informal.

    Can I just be impertinent enough to say, though, silviap, that I have misgivings about your use of 'cause for "because".

    1. For me the spelling 'cause is something you find in written dialogue where the writer is consciously trying to indicate "colloquial" or childish speech:
    -- Why can't I have it?
    -- 'Cause it's mine.
    Otherwise, if it's meant to be your own words, it's saying "Hey, look at me: I know the word "because", and how to spell it, but I'm being really cool (yeah?) by spelling it 'cause -- the way it sounds on the street".

    2. If you really want to be hyper-informal (and it is much more informal than "can't" or "I'd"), the way to write it is cos (or coz):
    -- I know it's true cos she told me.

    3. The person who writes 'cause is saying: I know the "correct form" of the word perfectly well: here am I self-consciously writing down the colloquial form. If you really want to write the way you talk, you don't bother with 'cause (with its conspicuous apostrophe!) = (be)cause: you just go straight ahead and write cos!

    F



    I wouldn't have thought that such a little word could give away so much about a person. Scary!
    :eek:
     

    quehuong

    Senior Member
    Vietnam, Vietnamese
    Focalist said:
    I beg to differ, gk. Take these sentences:

    -- I should like to congratulate all those involved.
    -- I should be happy to answer any questions you may have.

    In both cases, the first two words can be contracted to "I'd".

    I think you mean that "should" cannot be shortened when it is the "should of obligation" (no 1 below) and carries a stress -- as opposed to the "condtional should" (no 2), which is unstressed.

    1. I should use the car less but public transport is so expensive. (I should = I ought to)
    2. I should use the car less if public transport weren't so expensive. (I'd use... is possible)

    F

    I agree with Mr. Garry Knight. I'd = I would or I had. I was never taught that I'd can also mean I should. This does not mean that you aren't right. I just need to do some research.:)
     

    quehuong

    Senior Member
    Vietnam, Vietnamese
    OlivierG said:
    Hello,

    I would like to know (I'd like ?) when I can use these abbreviations.
    Are they really colloquial, can I use them in e-mails or letters to friends, customers, administration, or on this forum ?
    Are some of them more allowed than the others :
    I'm - I am
    I can't - I cannot
    I don't - I do not
    I'd - I would/I should
    I've - I have
    You'll - You will
    etc.
    Can I write the "long" form, or will it appear as affected?

    Thanks !

    A little comment on my part, M. O.

    Overuse of either form in one discourse is not encouraged.
     

    Mr X

    Member
    Australia, English
    garryknight said:
    I'd isn't short for I should, only for I would and I had.

    I was wondering if it's common to use I'd to mean I had in this way:
    I'd a dog that was called Rover = I had a dog that was called Rover

    To use I'd like that sounds really old and stilted to me. Of course, you can use it like this:
    I'd already been standing there ten minutes = I had already been standing there ten minutes

    and that sounds fine to me. Strange! :confused: Is the first example used anywhere, or not?
     

    quehuong

    Senior Member
    Vietnam, Vietnamese
    Because ==>> 'cause, cos, coz, and cuz.

    I have used 'cause, coz and cuz to mean because a few times in my short stories.

    Have not used 'cause, coz, or cuz in my essays before, and probably will never do that.

    Within the quote, my words are in purple.

    Originally Posted by Focalist

    1. For me the spelling 'cause is something you find in written dialogue where the writer is consciously trying to indicate "colloquial" or childish speech:
    -- Why can't I have it?
    -- 'Cause it's mine.
    Otherwise, if it's meant to be your own words, it's saying "Hey, look at me: I know the word "because", and how to spell it, but I'm being really cool (yeah?) by spelling it 'cause -- the way it sounds on the street".

    How would you know for certain that the writer was thinking that he was being really cool by spelling 'cause for because? I used the form several times in my short stories and never once did I feel "cool" for using it.

    3. The person who writes 'cause is saying: I know the "correct form" of the word perfectly well: here am I self-consciously writing down the colloquial form. If you really want to write the way you talk, you don't bother with 'cause (with its conspicuous apostrophe!) = (be)cause: you just go straight ahead and write cos!

    Can we not have fun with graphemes once in a while?

    I wonder if you have broken many rules before.;):eek:
     

    quehuong

    Senior Member
    Vietnam, Vietnamese
    Mr. Focalist,

    After checking with A Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language by Quirk et al and The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language by Huddleston and Pullum, I conclude that I'd is not equal to I should.

    I should and I would appear in many similar environments. There would be confusion if both of them could be contracted and had the same form ('d).

    Cardinal Rule: Identical twins are not perfectly alike.
     

    quehuong

    Senior Member
    Vietnam, Vietnamese
    Mr X said:
    I was wondering if it's common to use I'd to mean I had in this way:
    I'd a dog that was called Rover = I had a dog that was called Rover

    Is this common in Australia?

    I have seen/heard the construction I'd a dog to mean I had a dog several times (mostly in speech). Personally, I'd rather see I had a dog called Rover than I'd a dog that was called Rover.


    To use I'd like that sounds really old and stilted to me. Of course, you can use it like this:
    I'd already been standing there ten minutes = I had already been standing there ten minutes

    and that sounds fine to me. Strange! :confused: Is the first example used anywhere, or not?

    I'd like sounds really old and stilted to you? Why?
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    garryknight

    Senior Member
    UK, English
    Mr X said:
    I was wondering if it's common to use I'd to mean I had in this way:
    I'd a dog that was called Rover = I had a dog that was called Rover
    I've heard this a few times and I think it was from people who grew up in the north of England. And I think I heard it in Wales, too.
     

    garryknight

    Senior Member
    UK, English
    quehuong said:
    After checking with A Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language by Quirk et al and The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language by Huddleston and Pullum, I conclude that I'd is not equal to I should.
    I'd like to agree with you, Miss QueHong, but when Mr Focalist said:

    Focalist said:
    In both cases, the first two words can be contracted to "I'd".
    if he meant that people actually use this contraction then he's right and the grammar books are either wrong or aren't inclusive enough. I happened to be in a bookshop today and checked The Penguin Guide to Punctuation (1997) and Collins Good Punctuation (2000) and they both say that "I'd" is a contraction of 'I had' or 'I would' and neither mention 'I should'. But that doesn't mean that people aren't using it.

    Of course, if Mr F is the only one using it... :)
     

    quehuong

    Senior Member
    Vietnam, Vietnamese
    garryknight said:
    I'd like to agree with you, Miss QueHong, but when Mr Focalist said:


    if he meant that people actually use this contraction then he's right and the grammar books are either wrong or aren't inclusive enough. I happened to be in a bookshop today and checked The Penguin Guide to Punctuation (1997) and Collins Good Punctuation (2000) and they both say that "I'd" is a contraction of 'I had' or 'I would' and neither mention 'I should'. But that doesn't mean that people aren't using it.

    Of course, if Mr F is the only one using it... :)

    You're right, Mr. Knight. Grammar books do fail us sometimes. But still...
     

    Mr X

    Member
    Australia, English
    Quehuong,

    No, it's not common to use "I'd" to mean "I had" in Australia. At least not how it was used in my first example. I was wondering whether it was common to use it in that way anywhere else.

    I agree that "I had a dog called Rover" sounds better as a sentence. Sorry! I was just trying to come up with something that would suit my purposes, and I didn't really worry about whether it was a natural sounding sentence or not.

    When I said "to use I'd like that sounds really old and stilted to me", I meant that to use "I'd" in that way doesn't sound natural to me.

    Mr X.
     

    Janna82

    Senior Member
    Jordan/Arabic, English
    But doesn't I'd better do my homework mean I had better do my homework? or is for something else?
     

    Mr X

    Member
    Australia, English
    Yes, "I'd better do my homework" means "I had better do my homework."

    What I meant was that it's not common in Australia to say "I'd" to mean "I had" in a sentence such as: "I'd a dog called Rover."

    You'd generally say "I had a dog called Rover" instead.

    Mr X.
     

    tim

    Member
    Australia, English
    "I'd" can be used for "I had" when the "had" is an auxiliary verb.

    If it is the main verb then, as Mr X says, it sounds awkward and old fashioned to contract it.
     

    quehuong

    Senior Member
    Vietnam, Vietnamese
    Mr. X,

    Mr X said:
    Quehuong,

    No, it's not common to use "I'd" to mean "I had" in Australia. At least not how it was used in my first example. I was wondering whether it was common to use it in that way anywhere else.

    Thanks for the answer.:)
    I agree that "I had a dog called Rover" sounds better as a sentence. Sorry! I was just trying to come up with something that would suit my purposes, and I didn't really worry about whether it was a natural sounding sentence or not.

    Don't be sorry. It was just my opinion.

    When I said "to use I'd like that sounds really old and stilted to me", I meant that to use "I'd" in that way doesn't sound natural to me.

    We've been so exposed to the standard variety that our ears are not trained to hear and appreciate the substandard varieties of English. I've never used I'd something like I'd a dog before because I was never taught to use it by my ESL teacher. I don't know why but I find accents and substandard varieties very unique, interesting, and cute ;) even though some are extremely hard to decipher just by hearing them.
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