Contractions such as “there’s” “they’re”, “didn’t”, “he’ll”, “she’d” do not automatically make a story more accessible. Contractions can appear annoyingly chatty, and can be imprecise too (“it’s” can stand for “it is” or “it has”) and so detract from clarity. If anything, contractions make a story harder to understand, especially if there are several of them in the same sentence.

Use the full form in preference to the contraction (even “it is” rather than “it’s”) unless the result appears stilted or awkward. Apply the same test to quotes, although the judgement about whether the full-out or the contracted form is appropriate may be different.

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