1. stratwriter

    stratwriter New Member

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    Contractions - do or don't use.

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by stratwriter, Oct 28, 2012.

    I've noticed that many authors do without contractions in their books, using 'do not' instead of 'don't,' etc. I use the contraction version of words most of the time in my short stories and my novel. I'd hate to have to change them all, as it would be quite a tedious and long process. Is it professional to use either type?
     
  2. Andrae Smith

    Andrae Smith Gone exploring... in the inner realm... Contributor

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    Well it typically depends on the perspective of the book and the tone you want to carry. If it's first person, contractions are ok, almost a must have. If it is third person, it is typically more professional to avoid contractions. You avoid contractions in most cases, I would say all, but I am not a fan of absolutes ;)
     
  3. mammamaia

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    If it is third person, it is typically more professional to avoid contractions.

    ...that's true only in narrative... dialog must be done as the character would speak...

    You avoid contractions in most cases, I would say all, but I am not a fan of absolutes

    ...see above...
     
  4. Mckk

    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I use contractions in narrative, though I'm not sure if it's good practice. If it's not, I'm sure - assuming I ever get published - the editor would take them out (or ask that I take them out). I don't believe such a thing would really affect your publishing chances - how could a contraction that could easily be edited out tip the balance if your book is genuinely good? It could only tip the scale if your book is only borderline, and in which case the contractions are really the least of your problems IMO.
     
  5. stratwriter

    stratwriter New Member

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    Maybe it's me, but I often find that the sentence with the contraction reads easier than the one with the two words.
     
  6. captken

    captken Member

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    To use or not to use contractions.

    I use contractions in dialog most of the time.

    To my ear, "Do not" sounds more serious than don't. When my Mom said
    "Do not do whatever" I took it a lot more seriously than when she said "Don't do whatever."
     
  7. Thumpalumpacus

    Thumpalumpacus Alive in the Superunknown

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    Not that I'm saying you should avoid contractions. The advice above is good, but if you do want to replace anything, it's actually pretty easy, on MS Word. On the "Edit" drop-down menu, you will see the command "find". Select that, and in the ensuing pop-up window, select the "replace" tab. You will be presented a "find what" line where you enter the contraction you wish to replace, along with a "replace with" line where you may enter the desired replacement.

    It's great if you change a character's name, or a place-name.
     
  8. Robinwood

    Robinwood Member

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    Use contractions where they sound natural but don't use them wherever possible!!
     
  9. stratwriter

    stratwriter New Member

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    Thump, great advice. Thanks. However, I've been doing that for a few years now. I've also found that you can just add the Apostrophe (') into the find and catch them that way too. The thing is, I recently checked about 10 novels by well-known modern writers and have discovered that most of them use contractions in both dialog and narration. I'm thinking of leaving them in there, because the flow is much better that way in my novel, and they seem to fit the personality of the narrator.
     

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