‘Contraction’ Resolution


I recently wrote a blog entry about the use of contractions in MSDN Magazine. First, I want to thank the many, many responders to that – I’m amazed, and quite happy, that so many of you took the time to tell me what you thought. I love how engaged you all are in the magazine, especially about something that can be a bit esoteric.

Second, I wanted to let you know that feedback is running more than 5-to-1 in favor of keeping contractions, and that it doesn’t seem to be a problem for most of our non-U.S. audience. Personally, I favor contractions because they enhance readability (in my opinion). I’m not a big fan of the formal tone that doesn’t allow contractions, and although MSDN is a serious magazine, that doesn’t mean the style has to be uber-stiff.

Thus, we’ll keep using contractions in print and online. Many thanks, again, for all contributions to this topic; your feedback has been invaluable.

Keith Ward 

Editor in Chief

MSDN Magazine


Comments (2)

  1. Michael Paterson says:

    Long live contractions!

  2. Franck Fibleuil says:

    I think there is an issue that has not been considered so far: the all too frequent grammatical errors whereby conjugated verbs in contracted forms are used instead of possessive pronouns.

    The "your" becoming "you're", the "its" making way for "it's", "their" brutally abandoned in favour of "they're", all contributing to crippling the meaning of the text and making it far less pleasant to read.

    It is hard to predict how the pattern of grammatical horrors would change in the face of a "no contractions" policy.

    Surely, some confusion could arise where people holding forms like "you're" to be possessive pronouns will wonder why such a common grammatical tool (pronouns) is banned from MSDN. Maybe others are not entirely clear on what is meant by a contraction, and will carry on murdering the language regardless.

    In any case, as stated before by some commentators of the previous blog entry, it is a let-down not to use formal language in formal documents, so maybe the way forward is to be contractions-happy in online blogs, but contractions-savvy in the magazine and MSDN library.