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Latest comment: 16 years ago by Tygrrr in topic Untitled


Isn't this a suffix? A contraction is a word that uses a contracted suffix, is it not? Therefore, wouldn't and I'd are contractions and "-n't" and "-'d" are suffixes. · Tygrrr... 15:12, 22 April 2008 (UTC)Reply

I agree the contraction is not an ideal word as it is understood in various ways.
From the OED:
8. a. Gram., Phonetics, etc. The action of contracting or shortening (a word, a syllable, etc.) by omitting or combining some elements, or, in writing, by substituting a single symbol for a number of letters.
c. concr. A contracted or shortened form of a word, etc. in speech or writing; an abbreviation.
American Heritage gives:
2. a. A word, as won't from will not, or phrase, as o'clock from of the clock, formed by omitting or combining some of the sounds of a longer phrase.
Meriam Webster:
2: a shortening of a word, syllable, or word group by omission of a sound or letter; also : a form produced by such shortening
To be precise, I'd like to use the word clitic, but I don't think it's a good choice for a simple English dictionary. As Wikipedia tells us, "In linguistics, a clitic is a grammatically independent and phonologically dependent word.[1] It is pronounced like an affix, but works at the phrase level." This includes things like 'd while excluding n't, which is a suffix, as I've argued elsewhere. Thoughts?
I agree that we probably shouldn't use the word "clitic" even if that is most accurate because most people won't have heard of it and won't find it to be a useful description. I think we should stick with "suffix" for now for "n't", "'d", etc. I created a possibility for {{contraction}} at user:Tygrrr/Sandbox that I'd like you to look at. I think it could replace the complicated template you've got at wouldn't. For example, with wouldn't it would look like this:


Contraction of
would + not

The second box would indicate that it is the negative of would and also tells what it is a contraction of. I'm open to other possibilities though. · Tygrrr... 19:41, 22 April 2008 (UTC)Reply
But we don't actually plan to go listing everything that 'd, for example, might ever pair up with; it would be endless. I think n't should be treated like -ed or -ing. I think 'd, on the other hand, should be treated similar to a, an, and the are treated, i.e., as something that really is a word (not an affix) but can't stand on its own.--Brett 20:34, 22 April 2008 (UTC)Reply
I don't understand why you've brought up listing what it pairs with. It would also be endless to list everything that ends in -ed or -ing. Who says we have to list anything?
Also, what do you think of the contraction template? · Tygrrr... 20:55, 22 April 2008 (UTC)Reply

As far as I understand, you'd like to treat both wouldn't and I'd as the same thing: contractions. If that's the case, then why would you have a template for ...n't and not for ...'d (e.g., I'd)? --Brett 22:25, 22 April 2008 (UTC)Reply

You are correct. I would like to call all words like "she's", "I've", "he'd", "won't" and "they'll" contractions. Also, we do have a template for things like "n't" and "'d" -- {{suffix}}. If we are not going to call "'d" a clitic, it is more like a suffix than it is like a contraction in practice, if not in theory. If I am understanding correctly, you're suggesting the opposite -- that the definition of "contraction" could technically include "'d". While I agree that, in theory, it could be defined as a contraction, in practice it acts more similarly to a suffix like "n't" or "'ll".
If I am misunderstanding you entirely and you are asking what the template for "I'd" would look like, it would look like this:


Contraction of
I + would


Contraction of
I + had

· Tygrrr... 14:17, 23 April 2008 (UTC)Reply

Yes, I would say that 'd itself is a contraction of would, but I'm very willing to call it something else--not a suffix, though, which is what n't is (or maybe that should be -n't), along with -ed, -tion, -ize, -ly, etc. Suffixes are typically licensed for only certain classes of words. Thus, you can often put -ly on adjectives and get an adverb, but you can hardly go sticking it willy-nilly on verbs or other adverbs. In contrast, 'd is highly promiscuous, and can follow almost anything. It's not the same beast at all.--Brett 17:59, 23 April 2008 (UTC)Reply
What do you suggest we do? I'm not disagreeing with you, I'm just not thrilled with the way the page currently looks. I mean, I think it's not a good fit to put "'d" under the heading "verb". It needs to be under something more accurate. · Tygrrr... 18:32, 23 April 2008 (UTC)Reply