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Is it considered unprofessional to use contractions (doesn't instead of does not) in UI. Should I avoid contractions completely or are some ok and some not?

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up vote 4 down vote accepted

It depends on your target audience and the voice you are using. You can be quite professional and yet use an informal voice. Check out for an example (great tool, BTW).

Contractions are part of informal communication. If you need to remain formal, then do not use them. Also understand that a seemingly easily missed contraction can change the meaning of a sentence. In that case, you shouldn't use them. Finally, if you are writing for an international audience (that uses English), it is probably a good idea to avoid them.

In all other cases, they work well.

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And yes, I intentionally switched between using contractions and not. – Berin Loritsch Feb 10 '11 at 14:49
Um, sorry, but contractions are not a purely American thing; not even close. Here's some interesting stats on the contraction "don't" between the British and Americans…. Also - contractions are found and used in just about EVERY language. – Charles Boyung Feb 10 '11 at 15:23
I'd vote your answer up because most of it is spot on, but the first sentence is so infuriatingly off base, I am very tempted to vote it down instead. – Charles Boyung Feb 10 '11 at 15:24
Removed poorly received and self deprecating humor at the beginning. – Berin Loritsch Feb 10 '11 at 15:36

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