Is There a Place for Contractions in Copywriting?

Why am I writing about this?Contractions in Marketing Copy

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 conversational 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 thing they’re acceptable?

Have your say below.

Sally Ormond – Copywriter

Related Posts with Thumbnails


#1 Rob Biesenbach on 10.12.12 at 3:26 pm

Amazingly, I have had that client experience a couple of times. Once a client told me that there shouldn’t be contractions in a speech I wrote for an executive! Another time a different client’s lawyers struck all the contractions from a video script.

My answer is this: you know who doesn’t use contractions? Commander Data from Star Trek. That’s how we know he’s an android. So the question is, do you want to sound like a human or a robot?

#2 admin on 10.12.12 at 4:03 pm

Thanks Rob – so true!

Leave a Comment