Write the Way You Talk (Apostrophes: Use Them, Love Them)

When people write for their business, they do one thing differently. This tiny change seems insignificant, but it makes their writing feel stilted, formal, awkward … you know … all the things you don’t want.

They stop using apostrophes.

I see it everywhere. The drafts I work on are littered with “I am,” “you are,” I will,” and “there is.”

My theory: it’s a conditioned reflex because of high school essays. Your brain tells you that people will read and judge what you’re writing just like your teachers did, and that reflex kicks in.

But here’s the thing: unless you’re writing a formal proposal of some kind or working in an industry that requires you to use a specific kind of language, you’re much better off writing the way you talk.

I don’t mean that you should strew your writing with expletives and slang (although, hot take: some business owners can absolutely do this)

But I think that we can all agree:

When we talk, we use contractions.

If you don’t use contractions in your writing, you start sounding a bit like a robot. Do you want to work with a robot? No. And neither do your clients.

A bright red retro robot staring at the reader
Meet the Professional Writing Robot. He doesn’t use contractions. Don’t be like him.

You’re in the business of creating connection. And writing in a casual, conversational way helps foster that connection more quickly (or, frankly, at all).

If you’ve got a draft you’re working on, try reading it aloud. This trick will do more than help you add contractions—you’ll also stumble across other spots where your writing doesn’t sound quite right. And finding them means you can fix them.

Correcting those issues before you publish? That’s priceless.

Fire the Professional Writing Robot! Stop writing like you think you need to! Use those contractions, I dare you!

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