“Contractions belong in the delivery room, not in professional writing.”—Oscar Wilde.
OK, so maybe Oscar
didn’t did not really utter those profound words of wisdom, but the point remains important. Languages across the world and throughout history, from German to Sanskrit, have concocted ways to save time when speaking and space when writing—a goal commonly realized by smashing words together like combatants in Tina Turner’s Thunderdome. Two words enter, one word leaves!
Of course, English also maintains this practice in the form of contractions. A contraction functions simply: it takes two words, brutally slices out a few letters, and clumsily slaps an apostrophe over the gaping wounds left from the carnage. It is worth noting, that in formal writing,
it’s it is best to avoid contractions.
CORRECT: “Let us go listen to the newest song by Nickelback!”
INCORRECT: “Hmmm, let’s hold our breath until we pass out instead.”
CORRECT: “I am pretty sure I forgot to brush my teeth this morning.”
INCORRECT: “I’m avoiding you like the seafood at Golden Corral—well, any food at Golden Corral.”
CORRECT: “Please, respected elder acting as an instrument of state authority, do not punish me with the electrical discharge from that handheld device!”
INCORRECT: “Don’t tase me, bro!” (yep, still funny)
You get the picture. Chances are, if you see a word with an apostrophe that
isn’t is not a possessive, you’re you are looking at the remnants of one of these Human Centipede-ish surgical amalgamations.
they’re they are useful during conversation and texting with your hip and groovy pals, contractions do not belong in professional writing. Contractions bring an informal tone, one that doesn’t does not fit in the business or academic world. As it happens, avoiding contractions also brings a bonus to professional writing—it adds an extra word or two to the final word count, which means you get paid for doing less. You’re You are welcome.