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Contractions and How Not to Abuse ‘Em

Question was asked about proper use or improper use of contractions in writing. I came across this awesome blog about it and felt it was worth sharing.

Writing, Clear and Simple

[This article originally appeared in the December 2005 (Vol. 28, No. 12) issue of The Editorial Eye.]

A few years ago, humorist Dave Barry, writing as ?Mister Language Person,? offered ?Three Rules For When To Use Apostrophe?s,? including this one:

TO INDICATE CONTRACTIONS. Example: ?This childbirth really hurt?s!?

We use contractions all the time and quite naturally when we speak, usually with common sequences of words, such as negations (don?t, won?t, isn?t) and with pronouns and auxiliary verbs (I?m, you?re, they?ve). The phenomenon of squashing two words together has been the topic of endless linguistic dissertations?and errors. The pandemic misspelling of it?s for its is one of the great mysteries of grammar, given that there?s no ambiguity at all about which should be which.

Aside from avoiding errors like that, how should we handle contractions when we write?

Should we use…

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