Hi everybody,
I thougt that you shouldn't use contractions in written english (uups). Some days ago I came across an articel or something else what said that there are some (very few) situations where you have to use contractions even in written english. I tried to find this articel, or was it in one of my grammar books, but can't. So my question is, does anyone of you know something about that?
alex
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... days ago I came across an articel or something else what said thatthere are some (very few) situations where you have to use contractions even in written english. I tried to find this articel, or was it in one of my

This advice was unreliable. In no aspect of written English are you obliged to use contractions.

Don Phillipson
Carlsbad Springs (Ottawa, Canada)
Hi everybody, I thougt that you shouldn't use contractions in written english (uups). Some days ago I came across an ... in one of my grammar books, but can't. So my question is, does anyone of you know something about that?

English doesn't have "rules" in this way. It is, in general, considered best practice not to use contractions in very formal written English, but nobody will complain about them in informal writing. You have used a couple above, perfectly reasonably.

And the reverse applies - it seems unlikely that there is any situation where you must use a contraction. Obviously, reported speech is a different matter.

David
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Are there any instances where a contraction has become the standard spelling?
I admit I can't think of any at the moment, but my gut feeling is that there probably are a couple of obscure ones lurking out there somewhere.

Cheers, Harvey
Ottawa/Toronto/Edmonton for 30 years;
Southern England for the past 21 years.
(for e-mail, change harvey to whhvs)
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Hi everybody, I thougt that you shouldn't use contractions in written english (uups). Some days ago I came across an ... in one of my grammar books, but can't. So my question is, does anyone of you know something about that?

A number of contractions can not be expanded without reordering the sentence. For example:
"Hasn't it been cold there?"
cannot be expanded to
"Has not it been cold there?" Native speakers will know what it means, of course, but the word order seems wrong. The word order changes with the expansion to: "Has it not been cold there?" You don't have to use the contractation. But you will raise eyebrows if you expand the contraction directly.

A few contractions, such as "o'clock," are never expanded and can be regarded as words in their own right, and a few words, such as Halloween, were once contractions but are now spelled with the apostrophe.
The rule against all contractions is really suited only for the most formal writing. Contractions can be overused in informal writing, and generally it is better to let the reader's eye make the contractions that the reader prefers. But some contractions can be tolerated in informal writing, especially when the alternative is unpretty.

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Are there any instances where a contraction has become the standard spelling?

Ain't?
Brian Rodenborn
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Some publications require contractions when the alternative is a phrase with "not" in it. I belive the Wall Street Journal is one such. This is to guard against a complete change of meaning if the "not" is inadvertently omitted. It's much easier for a typesetter (or, these days, computer inputter) to drop a whole word than part of a contraction.
Of course, this is a matter of style, not a rule of grammar or usage.

Bob Lieblich
Why "not"?
Are there any instances where a contraction has become the standard spelling?

Ain't? Brian Rodenborn

That's correct: is the standard spelling for a nonstandard usage. would be another one.
As for standard usages, is a respelled contraction: It was previously (and is still, by some people) spelled . Then there are contractions containing substituting for or , such as and . And the word has as variant spellings , , and (1). Those could be considered contractions.
Note:
(1) Also : All these variants are taken from the 11th edition of *Merriam Webster's Collegiate.*

Raymond S. Wise
Minneapolis, Minnesota USA
E-mail: mplsray @ yahoo . com
Hi everybody, I thougt that you shouldn't use contractions in written english (uups).Some days ago I came across an articel ... one of my grammar books, but can't. So my question is, does anyone of you know something about that? alex

You know, it's extremely annoying to see "English" written with a small letter when it is the language or people being referred to.(1)

As for not using contractions in written speech, this is mainly true of formal written speech, as in academic writing. Many newspaper columnists and book authors use contractions in order to keep an informal tone to their writing. However, when I mentioned in the newsgroup fr.lettres.langue.anglaise about contractions not being used in formal written speech, one member of that group cited an article on the Internet, which at the time had a different URL. The following uses the current URL:

From article Myths about Writing at
http://www.wooster.edu/writing center/myths.html
(quote)
5. *A writer can't use "I" or contractions in formal academic writing.*Academic writing encompasses a variety of genres and styles. There is NO one form which is common to all disciplines. The use of "I," for example, is necessary for a personal experience essay, which is indeed a form of academic writing. Many disciplines, including Literary studies and Rhetoric and composition studies, allow the use of contractions in certain journals and published books.
(end quote)
Note:
(1) When applied in the sports sense of the spin given to a ball, it is sometimes spelled with a small letter. See definition 5 under the entry "English" in the AHD4 at
http://www.bartleby.com/61/61/E0146100.html

Raymond S. Wise
Minneapolis, Minnesota USA
E-mail: mplsray @ yahoo . com
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