Make your voice heard
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Pack some punch

What’s your style?

Whether or not you use contractions in your writing is up to you and your audience – and the style of language they expect. There are no rules to follow as long as you follow the rule of the contraction.

But there are certainly benefits to using them, which I’ll reveal below. But first…

Why use contractions when you’re writing an email, a Facebook update, a blog post – even a sales letter? Discover the benefits of shortening your words when writing for business.

What is a contraction? 

A contraction is a shortened version of two or more words that have been joined. It’s slightly informal, and can convey friendliness – a tone that can put readers at ease. Here are just a few:

You are You’re
We are We’re
I am I’m
They are They’re
It is It’s
I have I’ve
Let us Let’s
There is There’s
Cannot Can’t
Do not Don’t
Were not Weren’t
Would not Wouldn’t


Less text

Contractions not only help make your writing punchy, they reduce your word count which, in turn, makes your writing more inviting to read.

Reader-friendly

They roll off the tongue nicely – which makes your communication easier to read and comprehend. The easier it is to read, the longer your reader will stay engaged.

Writing that flows well also makes more impact.

Make it personal 

Punchy writing also tends to be more friendly. It sounds natural – like you’re speaking to the reader. It helps the text feel personal – as if it’s intended specifically for the person reading it. This will put the reader at ease and, combined with quality content, make them stick around longer, and – ideally – follow through on your call-to-action.

Memorable

Of course you want to keep it professional, but injecting some personality will help your reader remember you – not just because of your compelling message. There are a few ways to let your personality shine through in your writing, and using contractions is one.

Pack personality 

While you don’t want to write exactly how you speak, if it sounds dull or monotone when you read it aloud, your readers are bound to think so too. Add a few simple contractions and suddenly you sound a lot more like you.

This is okay when you’re writing for business or work. Here’s an example of an email to a long-term service provider. The first one is a little abrupt. You can see the second version has a more friendly tone – the contractions help make it softer.

Dear Caroline

I would be grateful if you could work on the scheduling project over the weekend. It is vital it is signed off next week.

Thank you in advance.

Yours sincerely
Darren Smith

A friendlier alternative

Hi Caroline

I’d be grateful if we could get the scheduling project back by Monday as we’re working to have it signed off next week.

We appreciate the effort.

Kind regards
Darren

When to use a contraction

Punchy writing, including contractions, is perfect for blog posts, emails to people you have a relationship with (and sometimes those you don’t know), e-newsletters, some web content, persuasive or sales writing. Actually, it’s probably easier to list what contractions aren’t suited to.

Like anything, they do have their place. Generally, serious subject matter should steer clear of chatty, informal language.

Think reports, academic essays, formal emails. As I mentioned earlier, it all depends on the audience and the objective of the communications item.

Do you use contractions in your emails, Facebook updates or blog posts? Comment below.

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