How to Spell What's

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  • 2024-02-19 00:00:00
  • 11 min read

In this article, we will explore the correct spelling of a commonly used contraction in the English language - "what's". With its frequent appearance in both written and spoken English, mastering its correct form is essential for effective communication.

Correct Spelling of What's

The correct spelling of the contraction for "what is" or "what has" is what's. This form combines the word "what" with the apostrophe followed by "s", indicating a contraction of "is" or "has". The use of the apostrophe is crucial as it signifies the omission of letters that are present in the full phrases "what is" or "what has". Understanding this structure is key to using what's* correctly in sentences.

How can remember the correct spelling

To remember the correct spelling of what's, consider breaking down the word into its components: "what" and 's. Remember that the apostrophe replaces the missing letters from "is" or "has". Associating what's with its full forms can also aid in memorizing its spelling.

Common Spelling Mistakes

  • whats - Missing the crucial apostrophe that indicates the contraction.
  • what,s - Incorrect placement of the comma instead of an apostrophe.
  • wha'ts - Misplaced apostrophe within the word.

These common mistakes often result from misunderstanding the role of the apostrophe in contractions. It is essential to remember that the apostrophe in what's signifies the omission of letters and should be placed before the "s".

Definition and Etymology of What's

The word what's is a contraction commonly used to represent "what is" or "what has". Its usage is widespread in informal spoken and written English. The etymology of what's traces back to the combination of the word "what" with the contraction of "is" or "has" using an apostrophe. This form of contraction is typical in the English language, facilitating quicker and more casual communication.

Transcription of What's

The phonetic transcription of what's is /wɒts/ in British English and /wʌts/ in American English. The transcription provides a guide on how to pronounce the contraction correctly, emphasizing the smooth transition between the "what" and the "s". This helps in mastering both the spelling and pronunciation of what's.

Examples of Using What's

  • What's your name?
  • I wonder what's causing the delay.
  • Do you know what's happened to him?
  • What's in this cake?
  • Let's find out what's inside.

These examples show how what's can replace both "what is" and "what has" to create concise and fluent sentences.


What does the word mean?
What's is a contraction of "what is" or "what has", used to ask questions or make statements more succinctly.

Words Closely Related: who's (who is/has), that's (that is/has).

Synonyms: what is, what has.

Difference between the words in American and British versions

There is no difference in the spelling of what's between American and British English. However, there is a slight variation in pronunciation, as indicated in the transcription section. These distinctions are minimal and do not affect the understanding or usage of what's.

Academic Dictionaries where you can find What's

  1. Oxford English Dictionary.
  2. Merriam-Webster Dictionary.
  3. Cambridge Dictionary.

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