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Old 08-22-2010, 01:50 PM   #16
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As to the original question, I'm not sure. In one class I took (jr high? High school? Can't remember), we were not allowed to use contractions, as we "did not know how to use them properly." On one computer I had, I had to refrain from using them when posting on the Internet, as the language was set to something else and turned all apostrophes to ?. That was really difficult to do. Judging from my experiences with some of the self-published works I've read, I wish the authors would also refrain from using them, as they are being used incorrectly.

I haven't noticed the lack of contractions in most of my fiction, though (outside of classics and period pieces), just in my non-fiction.
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Old 08-22-2010, 01:50 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by HarryT View Post
Contractions are primarily a feature of the spoken language - it's basically a form of elision, in which words are "slurred together"; it's generally not considered good writing style to use them in written English, unless you're writing dialogue. Of course, it depends how formal your writing style is and what the intended audience is. I use many more contractions when I'm writing here on MR than I would if I were writing a formal report at work.

That is exactialy what I am talking about, the dialogues in books.

Even when I type it out that way it seems too formal.


That's exactialy what I'm talking about, the dialogues in books.

That looks better even if it's not dialog.
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Old 08-22-2010, 02:22 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by SameOldStory View Post
That is exactialy what I am talking about, the dialogues in books.
Oh, then the answer to that is quite simple-- you are reading bad writers. People who have no ear for writing realistic dialogue.
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Old 08-22-2010, 03:32 PM   #19
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It's very common in most of the older books, and less common in most of the current fiction that I read. It seems as if it was a rule or guide line.

I'm sure that it's not common in certain genre at all.
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Old 08-22-2010, 04:38 PM   #20
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I was taught that you write dialogue exactly the way someone would speak it (hence some of my rather odd contractions). some stuff out of the teens-30s, especially if it REALLY southern reads like a completely 'nuther language
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Old 08-22-2010, 05:14 PM   #21
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Even the most skillful writer is probably not trying to render some kind of phonetic copy of imagined dialogue but to evoke an impression of what the dialogue sounded like. And don't forget, most fictions have a narrator who is "reporting" speech - so whose patterns of speech should we be should the rendition try to capture, the narrator reporting the speech of a character or the character themselves?
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Old 08-22-2010, 05:34 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SameOldStory View Post
It's very common in most of the older books
Okay, that makes me think of Victorian fiction and earlier. Jane Austen was the first to come to mind. Yeah, the people in those books talk like that in the dialogue. But, I believe, actual people of that time in the affluent, educated, snooty class were expected to really talk that way. Contractions were for the commoners.

I googled "Jane Austen contractions" (without the quotation marks) and found a similar thread somewhere else in the top results:

http://www.verlakay.com/boards/index.php?topic=30934.0
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Old 08-22-2010, 08:51 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SameOldStory View Post
That is exactialy what I am talking about, the dialogues in books.

Even when I type it out that way it seems too formal.


That's exactialy what I'm talking about, the dialogues in books.

That looks better even if it's not dialog.
exactialy!
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Old 08-22-2010, 09:00 PM   #24
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Ask my wife about contractions.

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Old 08-22-2010, 10:10 PM   #25
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Ask my wife about contractions.

Just remember to not let her hold your hand.
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Old 08-22-2010, 10:19 PM   #26
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Ask my wife about contractions.

Getting along with you is as painful as giving birth?

Just askin.
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Old 08-22-2010, 11:10 PM   #27
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I am probably the easiest person to get along with her personality.


She likes to beat me and I like to be beaten.
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Old 08-22-2010, 11:49 PM   #28
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So?

At least she respects you.

Unlike some I know.
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Old 08-23-2010, 02:22 AM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TGS View Post
Even the most skillful writer is probably not trying to render some kind of phonetic copy of imagined dialogue but to evoke an impression of what the dialogue sounded like. And don't forget, most fictions have a narrator who is "reporting" speech - so whose patterns of speech should we be should the rendition try to capture, the narrator reporting the speech of a character or the character themselves?
I'm going to guess you have not read a lot of AMericanLiterature from the Civil War until ohhhh about 1960
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Old 08-23-2010, 04:35 AM   #30
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