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Contractions are perfectly acceptable, encouraged even, in certain situations. They can make things easier to read and make our content more human and conversational. Their use depends on two things:

1. Which ones you're using

These are fine: I'm, you're, we're, it's, that's, there's, can't, couldn't, wouldn't:

While we can't say this with 100% certainty, we think it's correct.

I wouldn't be so sure about that.

Ones to definitely never use, please, include: it'll, it'd, they'd, I'd, must've, would've, there've. These contractions make content less readable and can cause momentary confusion.

2. What you're writing

In a news story on some new research findings or a write-up of an event, contractions are fine; in a report for a formal committee meeting or an official letter sent on behalf of the university, they are less appropriate.

While we like to be conversational, contractions can make something that needs to be serious sound just the opposite:

When asked about the timescale for the strategic delivery plan, the Vice Chancellor confirmed it'll be meticulously monitored.

This relates to what tone is most appropriate for what you're writing.

Read more about how to get the tone of your writing just right in our guide to voice and tone.