Why Not Use Contractions in Academic Writing

There are other situations where contractions are unacceptable. If you know that your teacher is old school and hates ending sentences with prepositions, you should err on the side of caution and keep your formal language. To use an example of a member of Parliament when writing to a judge to ask for clemency in sentencing, the use of contractions may seem dismissive. Like everything in writing, audience and context are essential. Yes. The MLA allows contractions in its publications. In professional scientific writing, a formal tone is sometimes desired, but often a more talkative approach is chosen. With excessive stress, contractions can be distracting. But there`s nothing inherently wrong with contractions that often prevent prose from becoming stilted, making it more accessible and easier to read. However, clarity and context are important. Finally, as the title of your post shows, avoiding contractions helps us avoid “sloppy” writing (which, of course, is only a problem if it actually reduces clarity). As for the alleged reason for this rule, the last time I explicitly thought about it was when my graduate counselor removed contractions from my writings. At the time, I had mainly adopted the first reason for professionalism and authority, which is of course circular, but I also assumed that it was for the benefit of future readers.

If you have the same thing (defective?) Using the logic of non-native speakers, contractions are more likely to cause confusion among readers in the future as the language evolves. Certainly, read scientific literature or any other literature before 50, 100, 200, etc. Increasingly difficult years, and anything we can do to minimize that should be encouraged. But as your little survey suggested, do contractions really affect readability? I have no idea. Also, I like the idea of not using contractions to distinguish between formal and informal writing, because it`s clear anyway, but using it to emphasize sentences. Don`t push that! VS Don`t push that! It is a pleasant and easy way. I don`t hack these authors – such phrases have become completely discreet in our literature. What`s interesting about this, however, is that there is one particular exception to our passion for condensed words: a general refusal to use common contractions (no, it is, we are, etc.) in scientific writing. Until recently, I had never wondered why this was so; I had just cleaned my handwriting of contractions that I regularly used in the language or in less formal fonts. Deciding whether or not to use contractions in formal writing really depends on the format and expectations in that format. A more formal presentation and writing voice are usually required for academic writing, resumes, or cover letters, while the tone of blog posts or personal essays can often be more relaxed. In everyday language, most people systematically use contractions without thinking about it.

The situation is not so easy in writing. It is acceptable to use contractions for informal writing such as a journal article, but less so for formal writing, such as.B. an essay for a university course. Apart from that, there are a few contractions that should be avoided completely in professional writing: Excellent article. I agree, we tend to write naturally while we speak, so it`s much easier for both the author and the reader to follow. And it would definitely have a little bonus to reduce the number of words! I am for leaving behind the pedantic anti-contractionism! 🙂 But as with the old passive/active voice argument, I think moving from one extreme to another wouldn`t help. There is context for both ways. With contractions of 2 words, each approach (what is the opposite of contraction??) involves a different accent, a unique tone of voice that can actually be useful in the science of discussion/argumentation. For example, “I can`t stress this enough… ” makes you note a little more than “I can`t stress this enough… **^Which is a bit awkward, as my writing book contains a chapter on writing for non-native speakers and another on the close relationship between writing and reading. Whoops. Scientific writing has a reputation for being dense, sometimes even impenetrable.

In part, this is because we write about intellectually complex issues using (necessarily) a very technical vocabulary. But our writing becomes even denser because we like condensed words: acronyms, initials and abbreviations*. As an example, consider this sentence: Many people avoid using contractions in formal writing because they feel that contractions are only suitable for occasional writing and that they represent non-standard grammar. Are they really representative of sloppy writing? When is it acceptable to use contractions? Contractions may not be suitable for all types of formal writing – such as a research paper that teaches protocols for formal writing. After all, it`s easier to understand when a ruler needs to be folded once it`s mastered. There are countless other examples of formal writing where contractions would be inappropriate (p.B. if you write to a judge to ask for clemency in sentencing, contractions will seem dismissive). Contractions are part of informal writing. Therefore, avoid contractions in scientific writing, except in the following circumstances: Hello, excellent website! Do you have any results to share from the survey on the use of English contractions? We plan to start using contractions in our technical documentation.

The English language includes words that sound the same but have different spellings and meanings. Contractions can often be confused with possessive pronouns. While contractions use apostrophes, possessive pronouns do not. So if the argument against contractions is weak, what about them? Well, the Chicago Manual of Style argues (compared to other forms of writing) that “when used thoughtfully, prose contractions seem natural and relaxed, and make reading more enjoyable.” That is absolutely correct. If your reaction is “but reading scientific literature shouldn`t be fun,” then you`re not alone – but I`d really like us to be able to get over it, because there`s no reason why we can`t find joy in our literature. Of course, contractions alone aren`t fun for tedious paper, but a more natural and readable writing style can only help. Pingback: Scientific writing, style and problem of the | trolley A scientist sees the squirrel increase traffic, improve SEO and get more leads with our monthly SEO blog writing service. If have is pronounced “de”, if it is eliminated: could (could have). The consensus is to avoid such formulation in formal writing (Garner; O`Conner). Thanks for the comment, David! Interesting point that ancient literature is difficult to read. I didn`t find a big problem with our literature until the mid-1800s, but earlier it can be a challenge (try the early volumes of Philosophical Transactions, which are online and interesting to read – see this post: wp.me/p5x2kS-55).

But this argument could depend on the fact that contractions in time are more unstable than uncontracted words. Do you think that is true? (I have no idea myself). You`re right, Arne (of course), my Twitter poll isn`t enough. In general, I`m really intrigued by the fact that one thing we don`t apply scientific methods to is our own scientific writing! In other words, we do not scientifically study questions such as “Are contractions difficult for allophones?” (There is literature on this, but much of it is narrative and qualitative.) Some time ago, I had an article on exactly this topic: wp.me/p5x2kS-2h. In elementary school, I was taught not to use written contractions because they are a verbal form. This applies to all forms of writing, not just scientific articles. Traditionally, the only reason we have written contractions is direct quotes. Some people would recommend that if the authors can replace the contraction with the two-word version, they should do so to keep the piece formal and correct in tone. However, contractions are used in real life, and if they are not included in a document, the text may seem inauthentic and forced. .