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Contractions

Contractions can potentially cause confusion for localization or nonnative English speakers. When using contractions, follow these guidelines:

  • Never use a contraction when you want to emphasize the negative.

    Incorrect: Don’t press the Escape key.

    Correct: Do not press the Escape key.

  • Avoid obscure contractions, nonstandard usage, and regionalisms such as “mustn’t,” “mightn’t,” ”you’d best,” “shan’t,” “ain’t,” or “don’t” to mean “does not.”

  • Never create your own contractions.

  • Avoid adding “’s” for “is” or “has” to form a contraction (for example, “that’s”).

    This construction can be confused with possessive constructions.

  • Use “it’s” and “its” correctly.

    “Its” is the possessive of “it.” “It’s” is the contraction of “it is.”

    If you must use these constructions, make sure that the antecedent is clear.

    Its features include expanding and contracting list items.

    It’s the correct contraction to use.


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