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  1. Doc Sheldon wrote on

    As a couple of people pointed out on the last post, Glenn, the key is in knowing your audience. Amazingly, I find that a lot of my clients have never given real thought to the voice they ought to be using for their particular audience. Many just seem to default to a stiff, semi-formal, business-like tone… you know – the sort that leaves readers totally underwhelmed. ;-)

    1. Glenn Murray wrote on

      Yep, I know exactly the sort of thing you’re talking about. Nearly every prospect who asks me to rewrite their website has exactly that style. Sadly, so too do a lot of copywriter portfolios!

  2. Gary Matthews wrote on

    Thanks for the shout-out, +Glenn Murray. Loved the further examples and clarification.

    If not for your articles, I wouldn’t’ve ever considered some of these fine points. It’d’ve been fun to keep an eye on them all these years, if I’d’ve had them on my radar.

    (Check it out, true believers: My iPad spell-checker validates “it’d’ve” as _real word_.)

  3. Glenn Murray wrote on

    LOL. See? Now without contractions, we wouldn’t’ve had this geeky little word-nerd-fest! Thanks Gary. :-)

  4. Micky Stuivenberg wrote on

    Thanks for elaborating on those points, Glenn.

    Two thoughts:

    1. Your example is for a radio ad, so even though you’re using the contractions in writing, it’s only to indicate that’s how you’d like the voice actors to pronounce the words. Fair enough. I have no issues with them being used in very casual speech (except perhaps the why’ll – see point 2), but I’d never use them in public writing, even if it’s social media.

    2. Your example made me realise why the why’ll bothered me the most. It’s not “why will” but “why would”, right? I’d have no problems with “why’d she care”.

    Maybe I’m being pedantic, but why’ll just feels wrong to me. I didn’t major in English lit though, so maybe it’s not really ‘wrong’ at all. Back over to you, sir. :)

    1. Glenn Murray wrote on

      Hi Micky. Actually, no, I meant “why WILL she care?” But I have to say, “why WOULD she care?” works equally as well.

      Another example would be this:

      John: Dunno. Depends how many other toys’re on special. Could be there all week!

      Dave: Huh! You might run into Steve.

      John: Yeah? Why’ll he be there?

      Now that the question is no longer rhetorical AND it’s motivation is curiosity, not doubt, “will” works better than “would”.

      1. Micky Stuivenberg wrote on

        Yes that’s a better example, that now looks logical to me. Question well and truly answered. Thanks Glenn.

        1. Glenn Murray wrote on

          Thanks heaps for being critical, Micky. Love that you thought it all through and picked it apart. Readers like you are worth their weight in gold! :-)

  5. Bill Harper wrote on

    I really wish people had to justify *not* using contractions instead of the other way around.

    I got marked down for using them in an essay I wrote at university. I tried convincing my lecturer they actually made the essay easier to read, but they wouldn’t have a bar of it.

    1. Glenn Murray wrote on

      Oh man! I thought that sort of guidance was limited to high school!

  6. Pingback: Contractions in copywriting - When can I use them?

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