contractions in personal statement

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unattended bag
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contractions in personal statement

Postby unattended bag » Mon Aug 09, 2010 2:16 pm

Any thoughts on this?

ARTfulDodger
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Re: contractions in personal statement

Postby ARTfulDodger » Mon Aug 09, 2010 7:14 pm

Never use contractions.

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CG614
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Re: contractions in personal statement

Postby CG614 » Mon Aug 09, 2010 7:26 pm

Yeah, you probably don't want to use them, unless they are needed for the style/voice of the piece. Even then, that would probably be a bad idea. It wouldn't be the end of the world, but you should not use contractions in formal writing.

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samsonyte16
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Re: contractions in personal statement

Postby samsonyte16 » Mon Aug 09, 2010 11:56 pm

I'm not sure I agree with this advice. Contractions are sometimes useful when writing in a conversational tone. Take this random sentence:

After ten years, I couldn't play basketball.
After ten years, I could not play basketball.

Which one sounds more natural - like something you could read out loud without sounding awkward?

WestOfTheRest
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Re: contractions in personal statement

Postby WestOfTheRest » Mon Aug 09, 2010 11:59 pm

samsonyte16 wrote:I'm not sure I agree with this advice. Contractions are sometimes useful when writing in a conversational tone. Take this random sentence:

After ten years, I couldn't play basketball.
After ten years, I could not play basketball.

Which one sounds more natural - like something you could read out loud without sounding awkward?


That's such an awkward sounding sentence to begin with.

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samsonyte16
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Re: contractions in personal statement

Postby samsonyte16 » Tue Aug 10, 2010 12:06 am

A little bit. I didn't spend much time thinking about it. But I still think the version with the contraction is less awkward than the one without it.

WestOfTheRest
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Re: contractions in personal statement

Postby WestOfTheRest » Tue Aug 10, 2010 12:08 am

samsonyte16 wrote:A little bit. I didn't spend much time thinking about it. But I still think the version with the contraction is less awkward than the one without it.

I think "I could no longer play basketball" sounds better than both options (although I don't know the context you meant to put the sentence in to).

ARTfulDodger
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Re: contractions in personal statement

Postby ARTfulDodger » Tue Aug 10, 2010 12:09 am

samsonyte16 wrote:I'm not sure I agree with this advice. Contractions are sometimes useful when writing in a conversational tone. Take this random sentence:

After ten years, I couldn't play basketball.
After ten years, I could not play basketball.

Which one sounds more natural - like something you could read out loud without sounding awkward?


For a personal statement, I wouldn't use contractions because I don't believe it is appropriate for admissions to law schools. However, I do see your point. My concern is that by using contractions in a personal statement or diversity statement, someone in admissions would be turned off by the conversational tone of the statement and that in turn could hurt your application.

WestOfTheRest
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Re: contractions in personal statement

Postby WestOfTheRest » Tue Aug 10, 2010 12:11 am

ARTfulDodger wrote:
samsonyte16 wrote:I'm not sure I agree with this advice. Contractions are sometimes useful when writing in a conversational tone. Take this random sentence:

After ten years, I couldn't play basketball.
After ten years, I could not play basketball.

Which one sounds more natural - like something you could read out loud without sounding awkward?


For a personal statement, I wouldn't use contractions because I don't believe it is appropriate for admissions to law schools. However, I do see your point. My concern is that by using contractions in a personal statement or diversity statement, someone in admissions would be turned off by the conversational tone of the statement and that in turn could hurt your application.


I think you can definitely use them if you are quoting someone.

ARTfulDodger
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Re: contractions in personal statement

Postby ARTfulDodger » Tue Aug 10, 2010 12:12 am

CastleRock wrote:
ARTfulDodger wrote:
samsonyte16 wrote:I'm not sure I agree with this advice. Contractions are sometimes useful when writing in a conversational tone. Take this random sentence:

After ten years, I couldn't play basketball.
After ten years, I could not play basketball.

Which one sounds more natural - like something you could read out loud without sounding awkward?


For a personal statement, I wouldn't use contractions because I don't believe it is appropriate for admissions to law schools. However, I do see your point. My concern is that by using contractions in a personal statement or diversity statement, someone in admissions would be turned off by the conversational tone of the statement and that in turn could hurt your application.


I think you can definitely use them if you are quoting someone.


Yes, you can.

d34d9823
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Re: contractions in personal statement

Postby d34d9823 » Tue Aug 10, 2010 12:13 am

No.

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publiuspublicola
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Re: contractions in personal statement

Postby publiuspublicola » Tue Aug 10, 2010 12:27 am

You don't want to use contractions in any professional or academic writing. Period.

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voice of reason
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Re: contractions in personal statement

Postby voice of reason » Tue Aug 10, 2010 12:49 am

Whether to use them depends on the formality of the piece. The default approach is that one avoids them in formal writing. Perhaps the default approach to a law school application is that your writing would be formal. But above all other considerations, your PS should be your best writing and should follow whatever style makes you shine. If your best writing is not in a formal style, then you should use contractions whenever they fit.

Lots of people get into law school with personal statements that are not particularly formal. I just checked and found that my 4 page PS for Berkeley had more than a dozen contractions. They let me in.

Do whatever works for you.




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