Are contractions ok?

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )

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Are contractions ok?

Postby bofaem » Mon Aug 30, 2010 1:42 pm

i just feel like constantly saying I am vs I'm and cannot vs. can't sounds weird...

should we not have any contractions?

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Re: Are contractions ok?

Postby esq » Mon Aug 30, 2010 1:47 pm

They are nothing to worry about, but when your contractions are consistently 5 minutes apart, get to a doctor, your about to give birth :razz:

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Re: Are contractions ok?

Postby paratactical » Mon Aug 30, 2010 1:52 pm

Last edited by paratactical on Wed Feb 13, 2013 11:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.


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Re: Are contractions ok?

Postby DreamShake » Mon Aug 30, 2010 6:53 pm

I'm using them in's why:

The general rule of thumb is not to use contractions in formal writing, and a personal statement isn't truly formal writing. It's not a grant; it's not a document being submitted to a court; it's not an academic article. It's a free-write essay. Additionally, in the dozens of interviews with adcomms I've read, I've never seen an adcomm complain about contractions. Instead, as far as grammatical errors go, they usually make note of typos, forgetting to change the name of the school when it's included in the essay, and punctuation. The overwhelming majority describe the PS as a way for them to get to know you; they want to learn about who you are, why law school, etc.--basically a dialogue about you. I don't know about you, but I use contractions when I carry a conversation with somebody.


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Re: Are contractions ok?

Postby beach_terror » Mon Aug 30, 2010 6:59 pm

Don't use them.

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Re: Are contractions ok?

Postby theavrock » Mon Aug 30, 2010 7:06 pm

Don't use them. This a document that is being submitted for a professional graduate degree program.


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Re: Are contractions ok?

Postby revolution724 » Mon Aug 30, 2010 7:07 pm

I think this is the same question as, "Should I wear flip-flops to an interview with a firm that has a casual dress code?"

No, you should wear a suit unless the firm tells you not to wear one.

I think a certain level of formality is expected because you're very clearly presenting yourself for review, just as you would in a job interview. You might get away with using contractions, but at least some people are likely to consider it bad form.

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Re: Are contractions ok?

Postby 2807 » Mon Aug 30, 2010 7:11 pm

I understand the debate over "is this a formal writing exercise or not", but I say try to do it without. Why risk it? It removes the ability for the academic reader on the other end to address it. You really do not know their opinion, and that will be the one that counts.

Risk/reward test for me.

I have read a few now, and the contractions come across as very casual and thin, almost lazy. I know that that is not what the people writing these are. So, I recommend fixing them and presenting yourself in the best way you can. Better to error on the formal side. You can be formal, and still be approachable, personal, and powerful.

And yes, that goes for topic too. We had some fun earlier with a "risky" topic. Again, risk/reward test, and overall presentation of PS in its totality is the goal.

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