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Thursday, July 21, 2011

QUESTION: When should I use full words instead of contractions?

ANSWER: Of course it’s up to you, but my general guideline is to consider your reader. If you’re writing a report to the board of directors or your boss, a thesis to be presented to a professor, a request delivered to the city council... or other pieces you consider “formal”, do not contract.

For “informal” writing, as in fictional stories, notes, memos, or blogs, contract away. Incidentally, that choice, applied to dialog, can distinguish one speaker (who uses contractions) from another (who eschews them). See how choice works?

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