(Sittin’ on) The Dock Of The Bay – Otis Redding (Understanding Contractions)

Contractions in English: I can’t, I won’t, I wanna, etc…


Written by Otis Redding and Steve Cropper

Lyrics as recorded by Otis Redding December 7, 1967, just three days before his death in a plane crash outside Madison, Wisconsin.

#1 for 4 weeks in 1968


Words in English when spoken quickly or sung sometimes contain contractions.


“Rocking” becomes “rockin´” – For example – “Rockin´ all over the world”

This usually occurs when the word ends with “ing” and the word contracts to “ sittin` ” or  “wastin` “.


Common contractions in songs are also…

What do you think they mean?


Also – pronouns can collapse into the verb.

For example – I watch ’em roll away again = I watch them 

Exercise 2.

Use YouTube to listen to the song and identify as many contractions as possible. Fill in the blanks below


Exercise 3:

Use the internet to identify 10 different examples of contractions, in songs, in BBC news reports, in films, on the radio, etc. Write them down and try to understand their contexts and bring them into class for discussion.



Exercise 4:

Example: (I am) I’m happy.

How do we write contractions?

In order to form a contraction, the letter or letters that are removed from the word must be replaced by an apostrophe.

For example, to turn the words he is into a contraction, we must remove the I and replace it with an apostrophe to form he’s.

are not = aren’t

cannot = can’t

could not =couldn’t

did not = didn’t

do not = don’t

does not = doesn’t

had not = hadn’t

have not = haven’t

he is  = he’s

he has = he’s

he will = he’ll

he would = he’d

he had = he’d

here is = here’s

I am = I’m

I have = I’ve

I will = I’ll

I would = I’d

I had = I’d

is not = isn’t

it is = it’s

it has = it’s

it will = it’ll

must not = mustn’t

she is = she’s

she has = she’s

she will = she’ll

she would = she’d

she had = she’d

should not = shouldn’t

that is = that’s

there is = there’s

they are = they’re

they have = they’ve

they will = they’ll

they would = they’d

they had = they’d

was not = wasn’t

we are = we’re

we have = we’ve

we will = we’ll

we would  = we’d

we had = we’d

were not = weren’t

what is = what’s

where is = where’s

who is = who’s

who will = who’ll

will not = won’t 

would not = wouldn’t

you are = you’re

you have = you’ve

you will = you’ll

you would = you’d

you had = you’d

About Author

Justin Donlon

English Teacher & Content Developer Over 15 years of experience in engaging educational content

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


access Free Online Course

The 5 Day English Challenge