Contractions in Personal Statements?

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
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enidwexler
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Contractions in Personal Statements?

Postby enidwexler » Tue Jan 08, 2013 5:12 am

Okay or not okay?

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bluepenguin
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Re: Contractions in Personal Statements?

Postby bluepenguin » Tue Jan 08, 2013 8:12 pm

Not okay except in very limited circumstances. If you can't figure out what they are, don't use them.

cynthiad
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Re: Contractions in Personal Statements?

Postby cynthiad » Tue Jan 08, 2013 8:20 pm

Seriously? You are going to sound very overly formal if you write "did not" instead of didn't and so on.

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bluepenguin
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Re: Contractions in Personal Statements?

Postby bluepenguin » Tue Jan 08, 2013 8:39 pm

http://www.top-law-schools.com/statement.html

I think all but a very few contractions make a piece of writing seem far too informal. Personally, almost every piece of advice I've heard about *formal* writing (which is what this is) in books, dean interviews, websites, etc tend to say to exclude them. That said, there are others who disagree.

I've rarely (i.e. basically never) seen a contraction on a PS that wouldn't be better served by the full words. Naturally, there are exceptions.

But if a random person is gonna ask if they should use them, the answer is NO. Most writers (I'd guess at least 80%, probably more), if "allowed" to use contractions will overuse them, and that's far more damaging than sounding very slightly stilted by avoiding them.

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enidwexler
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Re: Contractions in Personal Statements?

Postby enidwexler » Wed Jan 09, 2013 3:47 pm

Some context: mine are in a narrative section of my PS, and I feel like it would ruin the flow to change them.
Last edited by enidwexler on Tue Jan 15, 2013 2:50 am, edited 2 times in total.

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bluepenguin
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Re: Contractions in Personal Statements?

Postby bluepenguin » Wed Jan 09, 2013 4:34 pm

If the writing is good and it works with the rest of your essay, I'm inclined to say that that sort of usage would be fine. You're right about the flow.

Hooray for self-contradiction. Actually I still stand by basically everything I said. I guess I just got availability heuristicted on the examples.

I still stand by the rule that the average applicant would be best served by purging contractions.




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