Law School Discussion

Avoiding contractions in the PS?

Freak

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Re: Avoiding contractions in the PS?
« Reply #10 on: October 31, 2007, 07:36:10 AM »
Check out Bryan A Garner's "Legal Writing in Plain English" for great tips on how to write well generally, and specifically in the field of law. Garner likes contractions because they sound less stilted and forced than the uncontracted counterparts can sound.

Also, let me point out there is nothing inherently wrong with contractions. In French, contracted forms are generally preferred, for instance.

As for formality, some contractions are less formal than others. The main point, I think, is to try to not draw attention to the words you are using. You want your reader to focus on your meaning instead. Sometimes not contracting can draw too much attention to the language. Do you not understand what I mean?

"Do you understand me? Shorter & no contractions

papercranes

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Re: Avoiding contractions in the PS?
« Reply #11 on: October 31, 2007, 07:37:51 AM »
I didn't avoid contractions.   ;)

gowi

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Re: Avoiding contractions in the PS?
« Reply #12 on: October 31, 2007, 08:35:38 AM »
Frankly, for certain people, seeing contractions in a formal essay is a pet peeve. Rather than risk distracting my reader, who very well might have that pet peeve, I avoided them at all costs. I had a professor in high school whose whole family were lawyers, and all of them hated to see contractions. So she beat it out of us (quite literally, she had this red, plastic bat. ;D)

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Re: Avoiding contractions in the PS?
« Reply #13 on: October 31, 2007, 08:40:12 AM »
This is really simple, actually.

Nobody will react negatively to an essay not having contractions.
Some people (maybe not many) will react negatively to an essay having contractions.

Do yourself a favor, take the path of least resistance.

Freak

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Re: Avoiding contractions in the PS?
« Reply #14 on: October 31, 2007, 10:09:11 AM »
This is really simple, actually.

Nobody will react negatively to an essay not having contractions.
Some people (maybe not many) will react negatively to an essay having contractions.

Do yourself a favor, take the path of least resistance.

titcr

gowi

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Re: Avoiding contractions in the PS?
« Reply #15 on: October 31, 2007, 10:54:40 AM »
this is simple really. It's your essay, your choice.  :P

ě

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Re: Avoiding contractions in the PS?
« Reply #16 on: October 31, 2007, 11:59:09 AM »
this is silly.  we're not in 1920.  the english language has changed and contractions are accepted in everything from the New Yorker to your mother's "thank you" card.

Yet, you are walking into the possibly most conservative profession there is.

Freak

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Re: Avoiding contractions in the PS?
« Reply #17 on: October 31, 2007, 12:08:26 PM »
this is silly.  we're not in 1920.  the english language has changed and contractions are accepted in everything from the New Yorker to your mother's "thank you" card.

Yet, you are walking into the possibly most conservative profession there is.

Not politically.

And really folks, contractions demonstrate a poor writing abilities, except possibly in dialogue. Test me if you like: Write a sentence with contractions and watch me improve it.

gowi

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Re: Avoiding contractions in the PS?
« Reply #18 on: October 31, 2007, 12:33:22 PM »
this is silly.  we're not in 1920.  the english language has changed and contractions are accepted in everything from the New Yorker to your mother's "thank you" card.

Yet, you are walking into the possibly most conservative profession there is.

Not politically.

And really folks, contractions demonstrate a poor writing abilities, except possibly in dialogue. Test me if you like: Write a sentence with contractions and watch me improve it.

"I ain't goin' do it!" said the elderly, southern gentleman, "I ain't goin' be helpin' no woman engineer."  ;)

Removing the contractions will lose some meaning, wouldn't you think?

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Re: Avoiding contractions in the PS?
« Reply #19 on: October 31, 2007, 03:13:09 PM »
That's because it's a dialog. How did you do on reading comp? :)