I really do not like contractions 3


Contractions in the written word are a bit of a conundrum. I was brought up with the ideal of not using them in narrative. EVER. And only using them in discourse sparingly. And yet – more and more editors harp about adding contractions.

“His words sound too stilted, you need to add more contractions.”

“Their language doesn’t feel natural. Add more contractions.”

Here is my question. Natural to who? In my roughest of rough drafts, I have been known to use contractions in narrative, just because it is quicker than drawing them out, but once it reaches final form, I would PREFER not to have any in the narrative at all. In dialogue, I prefer a more formal way of speech. Unless the character is quirky, at which point, I bring in all sorts of quirks in their dialogue.

But more and more, I am feeling myself pushed into contractionland. I just read something from one editor making the remark that writing with contractions will make your words sound better to you. WRONG! To me, I wince every time I see a contraction in my work…especially in the narrative.

True, there are some instances (very few) where contractions fit. Such as questioning with the word does not. “Doesn’t that sound right?” does sound more modern day than “Does that not sound right?”

In truth? I hate contractions. To me they are a lower form of discourse. I use them sparingly in everyday speech, myself, and many of my characters follow suit. The only place I am likely to use a lot of them is in social media where characters count or I am typing quickly in response.

And yet…I feel pressured to accept these horrible excuses for bruised language.

Help! I am drowning.

Now, does that not sound better? I am drowning, rather than I’m drowning?

No? *sigh*

Too bad. Expect less and less contractions from now on. In my next few books, they will be there as the editing has already been done. But for anything released in 2014? All bets are off. Bwa-ha-ha-ha!


3 thoughts on “I really do not like contractions

  • Jade Crystal

    I was taught not to use them in writing except in dialogue. I think I stick to that. If I slip up and use a few, I usually edit them out. The only exception I make is with characters' voices. I have an ancient aristocratic vampire who abhors such speech and never uses contractions. But I also have characters who speak in dialect and use slang, so I have to be true to their voices. Go with

  • LA Cloutier

    I was also told that contractions in narrative are a no-no. That it&#39;s okay to use them in dialogue, but even then do to do sparingly. <br />Personally I LIKE contractions. I like contractions in both narrative and dialogue. That probably has a lot to do with my speech though, I&#39;ll say don&#39;t rather than do not…ect. <br />As far as reading, I&#39;m a slow reader, I read every word and

  • Cara Bristol

    I think because using contractions is a more informal way of speaking that it creates intimacy in writing, and draws the reader closer to the story.There is difference in writing style in literary fiction v. mainstream/genre fiction. The former is more formal. Language should fit the tone and the voice of the story and the characters.

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