After ten years, the always entertaining Tom Scott recently retired from making YouTube videos. This is disappointing as we’ve featured him so often (though I suspect we’ll continue to mine his back catalog for more Friday fun).

For example, this gem about how contractions work, up until the point where they don’t. A phrase like, “Who do you think you’re?” while a correct use of a contraction, feels grammatically weird. To understand this, one must understand the difference between an affix and a clitic. See below, which will explain why we don’t use the word “there’dn’t’ve”.

David Crotty

David Crotty

David Crotty is a Senior Consultant at Clarke & Esposito, a boutique management consulting firm focused on strategic issues related to professional and academic publishing and information services. Previously, David was the Editorial Director, Journals Policy for Oxford University Press. He oversaw journal policy across OUP’s journals program, drove technological innovation, and served as an information officer. David acquired and managed a suite of research society-owned journals with OUP, and before that was the Executive Editor for Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press, where he created and edited new science books and journals, along with serving as a journal Editor-in-Chief. He has served on the Board of Directors for the STM Association, the Society for Scholarly Publishing and CHOR, Inc., as well as The AAP-PSP Executive Council. David received his PhD in Genetics from Columbia University and did developmental neuroscience research at Caltech before moving from the bench to publishing.


2 Thoughts on "When Contractions Don’t Work"

Oh, those contractions. At first glance I thought this would be about heart contractions. or perhaps uterine contractions during birth….

As a publishing blog frequented by a large number of current and former copyeditors, it didn’t occur to me that people would come here seeking medical advice!

If so, I recommend exercise and healthy eating.

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