Not The Right English...

Proper English... - Proper English...
@twoey68 (13651)
United States
July 18, 2009 8:39am CST
I have been tutoring someone in college classes and in one of the essays I helped with all the shortened words, like shouldn’t, wouldn’t, can’t, I’m, I’ll, were marked wrong. Instead the professor corrected them with should not, would not, can not, I am, I will and so on. I have used these kinds of words my whole life and can even remember being taught them in school. When did they become wrong? Is there some special rule for when you are supposed to use them? I have been trying to not use them but it is really hard to remember not to. Do you use words like these? Any idea why they would be wrong? Is there a special rule when they are supposed to be used and not used? Could you stop using them if you had to? [b]**AT PEACE WITHIN** ~~STAND STRONG IN YOUR BELIEFS~~[/b]
16 people like this
57 responses
@urbandekay (18308)
18 Jul 09
Such abbreviations are incorrect in formal English but generally acceptable in common usage and becoming acceptable everywhere. all the best urban
2 people like this
@twoey68 (13651)
• United States
18 Jul 09
Thanks for clearing it up...I thought it might be something like that. I have to say I like the common usage a lot more than the formal. One other question, Oh Wise One, (LOL) what is the difference between alot and a lot. I've heard that alot isn't a word that it should always be a lot...any ideas? [b]**AT PEACE WITHIN** ~~STAND STRONG IN YOUR BELIEFS~~[/b]
@urbandekay (18308)
18 Jul 09
No such word as 'alot.' all the best urban
@hotsummer (10522)
• Philippines
18 Jul 09
there are so many rules in english grammar. butwhen i was student here in the philippines. we were taught that those were correct abbreviation. actually they taught us to abbreviate it i guess i was 8 or 9 years that time when we take up that part in english subject. why would it be wrong. cause that is so much widely used.
• United States
18 Jul 09
They are not wrong in proken English or in informal writing, but in formal writing such as in a college class or for publication they are not considered proper. I used to have a hard time remember ing but now I can get into the mode of writing formally(from practice). It is also important to know that formal papers should not have the words I or You in them. I have found it helpful to use the word One as a substitute. Most colleges and Universities have a writing lab that the students can use for free. I would suggest that you make an appointment with them a week before any paper is due so that they can look over what yiou have written and you have time to make any corrections.
1 person likes this
@GardenGerty (114410)
• United States
18 Jul 09
I think the first part of this post is correct, the formality of the setting affects the words that are acceptable. The student you are tutoring could perhaps have a writing lab, but I am not familiar with that situation here.
• United States
18 Jul 09
That is sad. I am not tutoring but I do live near 2 jr colleges and attend a major University and all three have a writing lab. It would be worth looking into. They also have "Math Lab" and "Science Lab" all three are free tutoring services for the students that attend.
@twoey68 (13651)
• United States
18 Jul 09
I have no idea if there is a writing lab but I'll have her look into it. Thanks!! [b]**AT PEACE WITHIN** ~~STAND STRONG IN YOUR BELIEFS~~[/b]
• United States
18 Jul 09
it's proper english vs conversational english. some people get a gigantic wild hair about contractions. both are right technically,it's just some people consider it slangish.
1 person likes this
@twoey68 (13651)
• United States
18 Jul 09
Evidently this one has professor has a gigantic wild hair LOL [b]**AT PEACE WITHIN** ~~STAND STRONG IN YOUR BELIEFS~~[/b]
1 person likes this
• United States
18 Jul 09
LOL i know the feeling.i had an english teacher that was very formal too. every now and then i'd throw in some double negatives just to watch her scream
@ANTIQUELADY (36471)
• United States
18 Jul 09
Sounds like to me the pro is showing his power, not good. I have talked the way i have talked for 66 years not going to change at this late date.
1 person likes this
@ANTIQUELADY (36471)
• United States
18 Jul 09
ocean, i always heard great minds run together.
@tjades (3592)
• Jamaica
25 Jul 09
Thats a good question. English tends to be a pretty complicated subject sometimes as there are somany rules to remember. I can not recall at this time if I was ever given a right and wrong time for using those words. I mainly go by my own judgement as sometimes you can tell that the shortened version of the word is not suitable for the piece being written. Id like to see what the other respondents have to say.
1 person likes this
@cynthiann (18613)
• Jamaica
19 Jul 09
When you are writing formal English this is considered very sloppy. We may speak then but do not write them in a formal situation. Blessings
1 person likes this
• United States
19 Jul 09
HI twoey,,I use these words all the time. I was not aware that they are incorrect..I was taught this in school too..I have been away from school for many years,so I did not know that it was wrong to use words in this way..Any way I will keep using them.
1 person likes this
@Eskimo (2317)
19 Jul 09
The rules of writing English does vary depending on what country you live in. At school in the U.K. I was taught that these contractions are allowed, and either form is correct (as long as the apostrophe is in the correct place). I probably wouldn't use them in a job application, but would in writing most other letters. I know there is differences in spelling (and sometimes meaning)between English English and American English, so would assume that there could be differences in puctuation as well.
1 person likes this
@kprofgames (3100)
• United States
19 Jul 09
I've used them too and even taught the ' was to connect two words, but also remember a professor that was a stickler for proper English, or formal English if you will. I learned the hard way not to abbreviate and honestly it did help with spelling two words out instead of one when it came to the length papers where you has a word count.
1 person likes this
@aabuda (1725)
• Philippines
19 Jul 09
I think there is nothing wrong with using of those abreviated words. Well, we just have to match it properly with the kind of words or thoughts that we are implying to.
1 person likes this
• Philippines
19 Jul 09
I remember writing an article as a part of our campus publication. My editor told me that shortening these words are not appropriate when writing. They were very informal. I stopped using them since that encounter.
1 person likes this
@writersedge (22577)
• United States
19 Jul 09
Formal college writing, contractions, they don't want used. It would be nice if they would write that somewhere before they mark people off for it. I found out that way myself. When we wrote narration (telling a story), I used contractions in parentheses for whenever a person spoke like crazy. It was the only time we could get away with it.
18 Jul 09
Hi twoey68, I am sure they in the English dictionary, so I think it is right to shorten the words, I don't know where this professor coming from, but we have always written it that way as long as I can remember. Tamara
1 person likes this
@LadyMarissa (12160)
• United States
18 Jul 09
Proper English is totally in the eye of the beholder!!! I was raised when the rule was when in doubt...SPELL IT OUT!!! Numbers can be another sticking point. If the number is the first word of a sentence, spell it out. Otherwise I think it's OK to use the number. I bet this professor goes crazy with the people who use text slang.
@dlr297 (5418)
• United States
18 Jul 09
I have always used words like those, i did not know that they were wrong to us. I would ask the professor why he did that and why they are not to be used.
1 person likes this
@fwidman (11515)
• United States
18 Jul 09
I remember being taught those words in school as well. I don't know why anyone would consider them wrong or improper. Considering the way kids talk these days, maybe they need to start teaching them again
1 person likes this
@nannacroc (4049)
18 Jul 09
I have always used these words, the only reason I would write 'would not' rather than wouldn't would be if I wanted more emphasis. I've just finished reading a book on punctuation, grammar and spelling and it advised that wouldn't and couldn't were more acceptable that the full versions. I think this professor is being very pedantic and old fashioned.
1 person likes this
• Ireland
18 Jul 09
No, I wouldn't (lol) stop using them. As long as the apostrophe is in the correct place, then I think it should be ok to use them although I am not an expert in English language. I must keep an eye on your post to see if somebody can come up with a detailed explaination. Very interesting post!
1 person likes this
• Australia
23 Jul 09
Unfortunately, if you are writing anything for University(College) or even Tafe, it is a requirement that you use formal language. Contracted words (Isn't, aren't, it's etc) are not considered to be formal language and will be marked as inappropriate for use in an assignment. There is an exception to this rule: Creative writing. If the assignment is a creative writing piece, then the contracted words are ok to use, as they are part of the writing syle of the writer. As a 'formal writer', I don't use the contracted words in my work, but in casual conversations, letters and creative writing, I do use them all the time, probably more than I should.
@tjades (3592)
• Jamaica
25 Jul 09
Ok now I remember the rule. I guess I just sort of implanted all that into my pysche and just did it automatically I couldnt remember a rule per say.
1 person likes this
@Qaeyious (2362)
• United States
19 Jul 09
Now that's interesting (notice I use the contractions) - The book I have for professional writing says you should use the contractions, since they are the ones used in conversation, but the book is about professional writing. Two places in fact, "Writing Well" and - dang I can't find the second book. Of course, if the pieces are being composed for a certain teacher or editor, one has to follow the rules that THEY go by, and not by the standard.
@Qaeyious (2362)
• United States
20 Jul 09
I found the other reference, "Six Figure Freelancing" (Kelly James-Enger)