clitic (plural clitics)

(linguistics) A morpheme that functions like a word, but never appears as an independent word, instead being always attached to a following or preceding word (or, in some cases, within a surrounding word).

e.g. It’s, should’ve, shouldn’t’ve.

There are 2 reasons [for why/when clitics can be applied]

  1. Syntatic Gap — A clitic implies another word shoud follow

    e.g. “Who do you think you’re _____?”

  2. Stress patterns — These forms are generaly unsrtesse or week. They’re pronounced more quietly and less distinct.

    e.g. you cannot stress a clitic and sounds weird if you do.