Tone: A Matter of Attitude - CommNet

One measure of the formality of our language is our use of contractions. The paragraph just before this one has five verb contractions: (twice), , and . We use contractions all the time in casual conversation, of course, and using contractions in our text will convey an informal quality. To elevate the style, eliminate the contractions and write out the verbs: "if we can maintain this tone of slight formality without being stuffy, we have hit it just right." It is a very easy matter to do a search for apostrophes in our text, and it is a very useful exercise, also. First, we can check for any possessives we may have formed incorrectly, but then we can also check for contractions. Remember, there is nothing inherently wrong with contracted verbs; however, they are one hallmark of informality, and your instructor may object to their use. It would be wise to know how your instructor feels about contractions and a looser, informal style before you experiment with their use — at least in a paper that you're writing for a grade.

One measure of the formality of our language is our use of contractions

Why it's wrong: Apostrophes are used to indicate possession and create contractions. They're also used to pluralize single uppercase or lowercase letters, depending on you follow.


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Of Apostrophes and Umlauts: Names in ..

But it can take many long years for your ears and mouth to learn all the wacky expressions and phrases, all the myriads of ways of using the language.The road to achieving excellent flawless is long and arduous.But you can learn to follow the fundamental basics of English in your daily use of it.