Should You Use Contractions in Your Copy?

May 30th 2013       Sally Ormond       conversational copy, using contractions, writing styles

Contractions – apparently, you either love them or you hate them.

Recently I did some work for a client and for the first time ever, I had someone complain (i.e. the client) about using contractions in their copy. Considering the brief had been to write in a “friendly, conversational tone that will engage”, I was fairly taken aback by their reaction.

They seemed to think that contractions were sloppy and lazy and yet we use them everyday in our conversations.

As far as I am concerned they are perfectly acceptable and I’m in good company:

“Contractions of the type I’m and don’t are exceedingly common in informal writing and increasingly found in various kinds of fairly formal contexts.”

(Fowler’s Modern English)

Even Shakespeare use them.

Can you use contractions in business writing?

Yes.

It doesn’t matter what type of company you write for, your content is going to be read by a person. The best way to get your information across is in a conversational style and that means using contractions. Let’s face it, without contractions writing comes across as staid and wooden – not very appealing.

If your writing is easy to read and to understand, it will be quickly absorbed because you have written it for your reader.

What do you think?

As far as I’m concerned using contractions is a no-brainer, but what do you think?

Are there any circumstances where you wouldn’t use contractions?

Leave a comment below and tell us what you think and why.

 

 

Tags: conversational copy, using contractions, writing styles
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