There’s & There’re

In full dither mode, as I avoid studying helpful articles about self-promotion, querying and Amazon, I’ve been re-reading short stories and novellas that I wrote in 2013 and 2014.

I haven’t looked at them for three years since I uploaded freshly edited versions with new covers onto Amazon and Smashwords. It’s been an enjoyable experience, like catching up with friends I haven’t seen for a while.

My writer’s eye also spotted preoccupations, recurring themes in my stories, that I wasn’t totally aware of while creating them. I edited out a load of wordy garbage, which I missed in 2015. It’s satisfying and embarrassing to strike out twenty-four words and say what I meant in just five words!

One tricksy dilemma that I wrestled with back then, still bothers me a bit…the use of there’s and there’re. It’s discussed in this thread on the English Language & Usage Stack Exchange website.

As one contributor says, strictly speaking, there’s, for there is, shouldn’t be used when referring to a plural, yet in everyday conversation people commonly say it. They also make an elision of there are dropping the letter a and turning it into there’re—but somehow that word looks wrong in print!

I previously pondered the pain of contractions in an old post and the tussle between being grammatically correct and making our characters sound believable continues. I’ve found there’re used in only a few novels that I read this year, usually recently published crime stories. In my own writing, I’ve sometimes used there’re in speech, especially if the speaker expresses themselves colloquially. I wouldn’t use it in the narrative where I’m describing a series of events.

It’s a neurotic writer quandary to have, but what do you think?

Are there any contractions that bother you?

Eek! I’m adding to the existing confusion over their, there and they’re…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.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