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Tips for a Successful Alexa Skill Certification: Contractions and Possessive Nouns

To help improve the natural language understanding (NLU) accuracy of your Alexa skill, it’s important to represent words in your interaction model correctly. One very easy mistake to make is to leave out apostrophes for contractions (such as they’ve, what’s, etc.) and possessive nouns (such as Sally’s, Victor’s, etc.).

Alexa makes use of two key technologies to make the process of interacting through skills possible: automatic speech recognition (ASR) (converting speech to text) and NLU (extracting meaning from text). Alexa’s NLU technology helps map customer utterances to the correct response, making it a critical aspect for your skill’s success.

As outlined in the Invocation Name Requirements documentation, for any invocation name containing possessive words, you must make use of apostrophes (for example, "sam's science trivia"). You should follow this rule within the rest of your skill's interaction model as well.

In your skill’s sample utterances, because you’ll likely be including all possible variations of particular sentences, you’ll probably be adding a number of contractions (such as what’s, they’ve, etc.). Be sure to review any contractions you’ve used and confirm that they contain apostrophes as necessary.

Take a look at our Improving Natural Language Understanding Accuracy of Your Alexa Skills blog post for more details on this topic.

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beth@amazon contributed to this article