I've never seen or heard the explanatory "that is" shortened to "that's", but it wouldn't hurt to be sure if it's possible or not

When you recount a story, you can either use past or present tenses, but consistency is key. That is, if you choose present tenses, for instance, to portray some of the events of a story set in the past, then you should stick with present tenses for the entire story.

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    No, but you could use thus instead. – Matthew Watson Nov 13 '17 at 10:12
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    You cannot shorten away syllables that have emphasis. – Mr Lister Nov 13 '17 at 11:27
  • How about a so instead? – Malady Nov 13 '17 at 15:22

No, you cannot shorten it. The explanatory that is as here:

That is, if you choose present tenses, ...

is the anglicised latin id est, which is usually itself abbreviated to ie or i.e.

i.e. if you choose present tenses, ...

As such, this usage of that is is a grammatical construction and should not be shortened.

So, while in general text and speech you can shorten that is to that's with an apostrophe to denote the missing letter in the contraction, you cannot shorten an explanatory that is.

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    That is, that's one way to destroy intelligibility. – GalacticCowboy Nov 13 '17 at 15:47
  • Except that the explanatory "that is" is very often contracted to "that's" in informal speech and writing. ; – charmer Nov 13 '17 at 16:50
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    I think the conclusion is right, but the reasoning is totally wrong. The right answer is, (as @MrLister said in a comment to the question), because you can't abbreviate syllables which are emphasized. – Martin Bonner supports Monica Nov 13 '17 at 16:58
  • @charmer Really? Can you give an example? – David Schwartz Nov 13 '17 at 18:49
  • @DavidSchwartz try here google.co.uk/… or simply search for the phrase "That's because". – charmer Nov 14 '17 at 16:09

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