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can we contract "The dog across the street is big." to "The dog across the street's big."?

I think we can't because I felt weird when saying "The dog across the street's big."

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    @user3169 - from the page you linked to: "A contraction is a shortened version of the written and spoken forms of a word, syllable, or word group, created by omission of internal letters and sounds." So with that in mind, how is "street's" not a contraction of "street is"? I hear [noun] is [adjective] shortened to [noun]'s [adjective] quite frequently. (Much less common to see it written.)
    – nnnnnn
    May 19, 2016 at 5:42
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    It's perfectly okay.
    – Usernew
    May 19, 2016 at 14:16

4 Answers 4

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Yes, at least informally and in certain dialects, if we can contract is to 's and append it to a noun, we can do it to a noun phrase too. For example,

The diner across the street's still open.

You ain't kiddin', not if that mug shot I saw's any indication.

The little bastard movie I made's got a life of its own.

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We use the contraction of is to 's with pronouns or simple nouns, but not with noun phrases. These are ok:

That's big!

The dog's big!

We would not normally use this contraction with a noun phrase like the dog across the street: we want to put a pause after the noun phrase, to make it clear that we have reached the end of of the noun phrase:

The dog across the street- is big.

The man that you met yesterday- is my neighbour.

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    This may be a dialect issue, but in my dialect (NYC English), this sort of 's at the end of a phrase is not at all unusual. For example "The diner across the street's still open" sounds completely natural.
    – stangdon
    May 19, 2016 at 11:19
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Yes, you can.

And here's an interesting example from a contemporary novel:

Whatever Mum’s saying’s drowned out by the grimy roar of the bus pulling away

(Opening clause of Slade House)

Whatever Mum's saying is a noun phrase, and the English novelist David Mitchell has used a contraction after saying to get

Whatever Mum's saying's...

in the passive construction is drowned out.

This is simple narrative prose.

What calls attention to this clause is the double contraction in the noun phrase: the first one (Mum's) represents the 's of the progressive is saying.

It represents natural English narrative, which is characterized by contractions (I've got, he'll do it, She's the one, Mum's the word, David's buying the dog's not gonna go over well with dad, etc.).

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I don't think it sounds that awkward, but you can't really do that in standard English. If you were a fiction writer and you were experimenting with form, you could have a narrator or character who talks like that:

"The dog-across-the-street's big," said the boy.

Or even just:

"The dog across the street's big," said the boy.

In more formal English, you'd probably want to say something like:

The dog across the street is big.

Or if you really want to use a contraction for a particular reason:

The dog's big, the one across the street.

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