There’s actually a real solid reason for contraction hunting. People who are new to English, having spent their life talking in some other language, will simply not use contractions. At least for a while. Contractions are not English-specific, but it IS a feature that newcomers have a problem with. French, for example, in it’s contractions, do not merely pick a letter out of the MIDDLE of words, they drop letters at the end. English drops vowels and the odd H. Then changes the hardness of some O’s, but not any I’s. It’s … maddening … to a newcomer to English. And makes learning English as a second language one of the hardest. Heck, our contractions and homonyms are headache-inducing.
I have the remnants of a YA novel involving a Japanese immigrant to our shores. She can’t use contractions at all. Her sister, who was a toddler during the move, uses them mostly. Then there is the latest baby sister, who just now is talking and she follows the middle sister, the only source of contractions she hears. I had … a delightful time … keeping all of THOSE dialog snippets contraction-correct. Wrote 80K before finding out I was missing the teen love aspects of the novel and had to shelve it as unworkable. I’ve never been a girl, let alone a teenage girl constantly crushing on some boy (or girl in our now more enlightened universe). Can’t write what you don’t know (anything about). Argggh. It was a good plot, one that I got approved by the local high school. Even tried recruiting a couple of friends’ kids to be co-authors. Nothing worked and I have a gigantic writing exercise.
Count me in for contraction help. Who knows, I might take another crack at The Switcheroo Assignment.