Whether writing fiction or non-fiction, writers have to choose whether they’re going to use contractions—or not.
It seems that when someone sits down in front of a keyboard and starts writing, they tend to write formally—not the way they speak. Depending on the genre, this may be okay, but in most cases, the writing ends up sounding stiff and stilted.
The reason is that they tend to avoid using contractions. Instead of trying to connect with their readers conversationally, they end up sounding pedantic.
But contractions have been used for a long, long time. In fact, William Shakespeare used contractions in many of his works (e.g., is it became is’t, it is became ’tis, it was became ’twas).
Contractions result from speakers pronouncing words in a slurred way when talking fast (e.g., want to becomes wanna). Generally, the more common the usage, the sooner it will become a contraction.
Contractions are okay
Reading long sections of text that don’t contain contractions can seem like sitting through a lecture, rather than hearing the writer or a character talk. Why put your readers through that?
Unless they’re overdone, it’s quite acceptable to use common contractions. Your readers will appreciate that you’re talking to them and not at them.
Don’t consciously think about using a contraction. Just write as if you were talking to a reader.
In everyday speech, most people use contractions. Writing should be no different.
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