Using contractions in business writing

Posted on 18 February 2014 by Lucy Gregory

 

Question

Dear Attica

In your blog posts, which I love, you often use contractions such as, you’re instead of you are or can’t instead of cannot. I was always taught to write the words out in full. Have things moved on since my school days?

Many thanks
Leonie F.

 

Answer

We use contractions in the Attica blog to keep it informal and friendly. Imagine we’re sitting around, drinking tea, discussing the ins and outs of business writing.

However, in formal documents we always write out words in full.

Sometimes it’s not obvious whether your writing is formal or not. With emails, presentation slides and newsletters, for example, it might depend on the context and the reader.

If in doubt, it’s best to choose a more formal style and avoid contractions.