Avoid Contractions

Avoiding Contractions 

The omission of contractions is common practice for all types of formal writing. But what is considered formal writing? When should we follow the contraction rule?

Formal writing includes, but is not limited to:

Scholarly Papers: Research papers, analytic essays etc. Basically, any professional essay you do in high school.

Other Professional Writing: Reports, brochures, critiques, reviews, professional letters (cover letters, letters to the editor) etc.

*The Golden Rule is- when in doubt, do not use contractions*

But what can I do to break this bad habit?

The answer is simple- PROOFREAD your paper, specifically looking for contractions. When you find one, highlight it. After you have found several, go back into your paper and change them!

Here is a list of some commonly used contractions:

aren’t are not
can’t cannot
couldn’t could not
didn’t did not
doesn’t does not
don’t do not
hadn’t had not
hasn’t has not
haven’t have not
he’d he had; he would
he’ll he will; he shall
he’s he is; he has
I’d I had; I would
I’ll I will; I shall
I’m I am
I’ve I have
isn’t is not
it’s it is; it has
let’s let us

There are a lot more contractions, but you get the idea.


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