The use of contractions in American English depends on the context, formality, and tone of the writing.[1] Here are guidelines for when to use or avoid contractions:

Use Contractions: edit

  1. Informal Writing:
    • Contractions are common and perfectly acceptable in informal writing, such as personal emails, text messages, and casual blog posts.
      • Example: "I can't believe it's already Friday!"
  2. Dialogue:
    • In fictional or creative writing, contractions are often used in dialogue to make the conversation sound natural and authentic.
      • Example: "I haven't seen you in ages! How's it going?"
  3. Conversational Tone:
    • If your writing aims for a conversational and friendly tone, contractions can contribute to a more approachable style.
      • Example: "Let's meet up for coffee sometime."
  4. Everyday Language:
    • In most everyday situations, contractions are the norm and help maintain a conversational flow.
      • Example: "She's always been a good friend."
  5. Informal Reports or Memos:
    • In less formal business communication, such as internal memos or informal reports, contractions are generally acceptable.
      • Example: "We're planning to launch the new product next month."

Avoid Contractions: edit

  1. Formal Writing:
    • In formal writing, such as academic papers, research articles, or business proposals, it is advisable to avoid contractions for a more professional tone.
      • Example: "I am writing to inform you of the recent developments."
  2. Official Documents:
    • Official documents, contracts, and legal agreements often use a more formal style that excludes contractions.
      • Example: "This agreement shall be effective as of the date of execution."
  3. Academic Essays:
    • In academic essays or papers, contractions are generally avoided to maintain a scholarly and objective tone.
      • Example: "Do not underestimate the impact of climate change on global ecosystems."
  4. Resumes and Cover Letters:
    • When writing a resume, cover letter, or any professional document, it's common to avoid contractions to present a polished and serious image.
      • Example: "I am confident in my ability to contribute to the success of your team."
  5. Technical Writing:
    • In technical writing or manuals, where clarity and precision are crucial, contractions might be avoided to prevent any ambiguity.
      • Example: "The procedure will be conducted in accordance with the guidelines."
  6. Emphasis on Individual Words:
    • In instances where you want to place emphasis on individual words, avoiding contractions can help achieve that emphasis.
      • Example: "You will not believe what happened!"

Remember that these guidelines are general recommendations, and there can be exceptions based on the specific requirements of your writing and the expectations of your audience. Always consider the purpose, audience, and formality of your writing when deciding whether to use or avoid contractions.

  1. ChatGPT generated this text respondig to the prompt: "When is it advisable to use or avoid contractions when writing in American English?"