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§14.8. Adapting contractions

Contractions usually take the form of part of a word being missed out and replaced by an apostrophe. We've already seen "[can't]", "[couldn't]", "[mayn't]", "[mightn't]", "[mustn't]", "[shouldn't]" and "[wouldn't]", for example. But Inform supports other contractions, too, as follows.

The English verbs "to be" and "to have" are unique in having contracted forms, which we can write "['re]" and "['ve]", like this:

"[We]['ve] got rhythm. [We]['re] cool."

which might produce, say, "I've got rhythm. I'm cool.", or "He'll have rhythm. He'll be cool.", or "You had got rhythm. You were cool." (The contractions don't appear in the past tense; but the spacing fixes itself automatically.)

The Standard Rules often use a special text substitution for responses like this one:

"[They're] hardly portable."

This is exactly like "[Those]['re] hardly portable" except that if the plural is needed, Inform prints "They're hardly portable" rather than the correct, but not quite idiomatic, "Those're hardly portable". (If we wrote "[They]['re] ...", that would get the plural form right, but then the singular would be "It's hardly portable" not "That's hardly portable".)

Only a few English verbs have contracted negative forms, beyond those already mentioned. Inform knows these informal forms:


For example,

Instead of taking something:
    say "[The noun] [are] pinned down by Dr Zarkov's force field. [They] [aren't] free to move. [They] [can't] move. [They] [won't] move. [They] [haven't] a chance to move. Anyhow, [they] [don't] move."

can produce variations like these:

The condensers are pinned down by Dr Zarkov's force field. They aren't free to move. They can't move. They won't move. They haven't a chance to move. Anyhow, they don't move.

You were pinned down by Dr Zarkov's force field. You weren't free to move. You couldn't move. You wouldn't move. You hadn't a chance to move. Anyhow, you didn't move.

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