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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 http://balsamiq.com/ 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 english.stackexchange.com/questions/8380/…. 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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