Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing, and Publishing ~

Contractions: which are common and which aren’t?


I’m sure a few folks won’t need all of what’s in today’s re-blog…

Three contractions in that last sentence aren’t so bad, eh? :-)

Stroppy Editor

Contractions – “you’re”, “we’ll”, “can’t”, “don’t” etc. – generally make language sound less formal, and avoiding them makes it more formal.

Over the years, contractions have become more acceptable higher up the formality spectrum. This is part of a general shift that’s been going on for decades: styles of language that were once firmly seen as casual are now more widely used in more businesslike contexts. Likewise, styles of language that would have been common and neutral in, say, the 1950s now tend to come across as very formal.

On the whole, your best bet is to trust your judgement. Use contractions or not depending on whether you feel comfortable saying the phrase that way, in that sentence, in that context, for that audience. But take care: if your tastes are more old-fashioned or new-fangled than your audience’s, you may miss your mark.

And if you’d like some evidence to…

View original post 1,116 more words

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