Should you use contractions in your marketing copy?
That is a question that causes divisions. One camp thinks the use of contractions makes writing come across as natural and friendly. The other camp thinks they lower the tone and are sloppy.
After browsing through the many blogs I have written over the years, I came across one that addresses this exact subject.
It’s something that’s as relevant today as it was six years ago.
These are my thoughts – feel free to voice yours by commenting at the end.
Is there a place for contractions in copy?
Why am I writing about this?
Well, for the first time ever in my writing career, a client complained about the fact that I’d used contractions in his copy.
Bearing in mind the brief was to write ‘friendly, conversational copy that will engage with our readers’; I was rather surprised by his reaction.
Are contractions sloppy? Do they suggest lazy writing?
In my mind, no they don’t.
I even went back to my well-thumbed copy of Fowler’s Modern English Usage to see what that had to say:
“Contractions of the type I’m and don’t are exceedingly common in informal writing and increasingly found in various kinds of fairly formal contexts.”
Even Shakespeare used them!
Do contractions have a place in business writing?
Let’s get one thing clear from the start; even if you’re writing for a business, it’s going to be read by a person.
The best way to get your information across to your reader is by using a natural style and that means using contractions that provide an easy tone to read and comprehend.
If your writing is easy to understand, it’s easy to absorb.
The guiding principle to grasp with any written communication (especially marketing materials) is to always write for your reader.
Using simple language and contractions will result in copy that is friendly and warm.
What do you think?
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this matter.
Granted, there are certain circumstances where contractions are not appropriate, but for general marketing texts, do you think they’re acceptable?
Have your say below.
Do you feel the same as Sally? Leave your comments below and let’s find out.