In the following set of pairs, the first part of the pair is the standard negative form of contraction.

Are they ever heard of in conversations? If yes, are they as acceptable as the standard contracted forms?

  1. He hasn't come yet. He's not come yet

  2. He hasn't been working. He's not been working

  3. They haven't come yet. They've not come yet

  4. They haven't been working. They've not been working

Update: You can read more about less common contractions in the following posts:

  1. Is it appropriate to use short form of “have” ('ve) when it means possession?

  2. Can a word be contracted twice (e.g. “I'ven't”)?

  • 1
    As far as I can tell, when the not part is not contracted, it means that the speaker wants to emphasize the "not". (This might be clearer and more obvious when we actually hear them. The prosody will make it so obvious.) However, one important note is the contraction of "have" when it's used as the main verb should be avoid, e.g. avoid this: "They've two cars." Jan 14, 2014 at 13:09
  • 1
    +1 You have brought up very interesting points. I've just checked with COCA to find out that there are many citations to the "he's not been" in SPOKEN English. I cannot commit myself to detailed research now, so I'll put it on the back burner. I think I can check avoiding contracting have when used as a main verb. I've always wanted to check that.
    – learner
    Jan 14, 2014 at 15:03

1 Answer 1


(speaking for American English only, but I think it's true in other dialects):

These are "correct" but very old-fashioned and not used very often at all in any register of speech, especially casual registers.

  • It sounds British to me, but I'm also an AmE speaker and I have a bias toward thinking formal things sound British (or maybe the other way around?) so this could just be me.
    – WendiKidd
    Jan 17, 2014 at 2:40

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