to abbreviate or not to abbreviate (English written style)

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Senior Member
Sbaeneg/Castellano (Venezuela)
First Happy new year to all and Good evening :)

Since I have been learning English I always opted not to abbreviate the words because I liked it; I was told that normally when one does not abbreviate it means that one is being formal, now it is about time I corroborate that information with native speakers, my questions are:

1) When you are writing English if you never use an abbreviation, is it right or from time to time is an obligation to abbreviate?

2)Is it true that if you never use an abbreviation you are being more polite?

That doubt came to me since I have seen in different circunstances people using English in both cases, spoken English and written English by not abbreviating, in spoken English it sounds for me not exactly weird but ''poetic'' as the people who were using it tried to make themselves solemn, but I am not really sure about whether it is correct or not. When I use spoken English I indeed do not use abbreviations but as I said I'm not sure if always talking with zero abbrevations is correct.

I hope I did myself clear.

Note: Any mistake you have found in my writing please feel free to correct me.

Thank you in Advance :)
  • 涼宮

    Senior Member
    Sbaeneg/Castellano (Venezuela)
    I mean the ones one uses to shorter the talking, like for instance:

    I am= i'm
    o'clock= of the clock
    let's = let us
    you're= you are
    doesn't = does not and so on

    those ones I meant.


    Senior Member
    American English
    Thank you. I thought you might mean contractions. Except for "o'clock," you're under no obligation to use contractions, and not using contractions is often the more formal way of writing and speaking.

    I personally think that language should fit the situation, however, so if I met someone who never used contractions in conversation, we would probably have only one conversation. :)


    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    As Copyright says, we call those contractions, and you will see that we have several previous threads on the subject. This one in particular should interest you.
    Contractions in literary writing.

    It contains a link to another thread that you may find useful:
    Contractions in formal documents

    Please feel free to add a question to a suitable existing thread. I am closing this one to avoid further duplication. :)

    Cagey, moderator.

    Added: a couple of threads on contractions in more casual contexts:
    Contractions are bad?
    Conversational contractions
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