Slide

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The damn character limit is starting to annoy me, because I have to cut out a lot of juicy parts in my essays. I'm looking for any way to save some characters, so do any of you know the rule of using contractions in secondaries? Too informal, or good enough?
 

Looque

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Personally, I'm avoiding any use of contractions on my applications, but to each their own. It doesn't strike me as something that would get you rejected.
 

jackieMD2007

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I think that using contractions is too informal for secondary purposes.
 

ADeadLois

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It probably depends on the nature of the queston, but most questions I've seen are more on the formal side so don't use contractions.

I used a ton of contractions on my PS because it's a narrative and has an informal tone, so contractions worked there.
 

MiesVanDerMom

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I used contractions in my PS and my secondaries. Adcoms can think what they like, but I taught college and it turns out the rules of writing are much less formal than they were when I was younger. Unfortunately I didn;t find this out until after I'd graded and returned their first paper. I had to eat some crow. I like my writing to flow and to use no contractions at all seems really awkard to me. When I get rejected you can all stand in a circle and laugh at me...
 

jackieMD2007

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The other thing is a lot of people use contractions like "you've" without considering what the words are, and as such, misuse them in a sentence. Same with "they're." If you break the words out, you do not make a mistake.

Just a thought. I saw this a ton when I was grading in college.
 

spospo

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i used them in both my AMCAS and secondaries. i asked my english prof about it (yes, i know she isn't medically related, but she know a lot about writing and about writing in different situations) and she said that contractions are widely accepted these days. plus, reading through mine, it sounded better with them than without.

--edit: i didn't make all possible contraction, just most, about 75%
 

Rafa

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Adcoms are far too stupid to understand contractions. You had better spell out everything if you want them to have a chance of understanding. To be on the safe side, I would avoid pollysyllabic words unless absolutely necessary.
 

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i try to avoid when i can.
 

leahmaria

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I naturally write with contractions, but then I go through and undo them before submitting
 
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Slide

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Rafa said:
Adcoms are far too stupid to understand contractions. You had better spell out everything if you want them to have a chance of understanding. To be on the safe side, I would avoid pollysyllabic words unless absolutely necessary.
I like your thinking, it spells out the truth so well. :thumbup:
 

hermit

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Is this for real? I don't remember anyone saying it was taboo to use contractions. I find it a little hard to believe that a spectacular essay would keep you out of medical school because there was a contraction in it.
 

notdeadyet

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spospo said:
i used them in both my AMCAS and secondaries. i asked my english prof about it (yes, i know she isn't medically related, but she know a lot about writing and about writing in different situations) and she said that contractions are widely accepted these days.
I agree with spospo and his/her professor. Sometimes contractions just sound more natural than not contracting. And frankly, you don't want your essay to sound stilted just to avoid contractions.

"This medical school is very dear to my wife and I." is actually incorrect grammar, but letting it slip in would probably not be a problem, since it's incorrect but accepted. I think the same is true for lots of cases with contractions.

But avoid couldn't've. I love it, you love it, we all love it. But don't use it. And if you did, you shouldn't've.
 

CavalierMD

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I agree... I think the contraction rule is a little old school. I wouldn't go with all contractions all the time... but if the flow is better with "I've" instead of "I have" and it saves you 3 characters at the same time... I don't think it reflects on your character either way. The Barron's book "Essays That Will Get You In..." doesn't even mention contractions... for what it's worth.
 

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Slide said:
The damn character limit is starting to annoy me, because I have to cut out a lot of juicy parts in my essays. I'm looking for any way to save some characters, so do any of you know the rule of using contractions in secondaries? Too informal, or good enough?
:laugh: I totally read this wrong. I saw "contractions" in the thread title and thought of pregnancy labor. Guess because my wife's due date is approaching.
 

Rafa

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gapotts2003 said:
Contractions are informal and should only be used in speech... And informal letters.
Ach - not true (as anyone who's ever read a book or newspaper can attest).
 

notdeadyet

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gapotts2003 said:
Contractions are informal and should only be used in speech... And informal letters.
Actually, I don't think that's been true since the fifties or sixties. I think that contractions have been considered legitimate syntax since then.
 

TMP-SMX

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notdeadyet said:
Actually, I don't think that's been true since the fifties or sixties. I think that contractions have been considered legitimate syntax since then.
In my mind it's not. :D

I'd always rather be safe than sorry. Some people are going to think the same things as me... (Especially the older crowd)
 

spospo

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i don't think adcoms are going to be personally offended when you type "wouldn't" instead of "would not." i don't think anyone expects doctors to speak without using contractions, so why when i write an essay about something i overcame do i have to refrain from using them. i used them because it made my essay(s) feel more personal. but.....to each his own. if you feel it is on the safer side to not use them, then don't. good luck all whichever way you choose :luck:
 

Sol Rosenberg

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Contractions make things sound less stuffy and more natural. I agree with notdeadyet that "double contractions" like couldn't've should be avoided, but I was going for natural, easy-to-read, and non-stuffy in my PS/secondaries, so I'm sure that I used a bunch of contractions.

Once again, consider your audience: Doctors and Researchers are not known to be the best writers, and one of the things that you need to do with your PS is keep their attention (i.e. make it easy to read.) I think that you'll get more points for your PS being easier to read than you will for it being completely correct formal written English. While contractions aren't the end-all-be-all WRT this goal, they help.

JMHO...

P.S. Of course I agree with Jackie that the contraction must be still be syntactically (sp?) correct.
 

jackieMD2007

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gapotts2003 said:
In my mind it's not. :D

I'd always rather be safe than sorry. Some people are going to think the same things as me... (Especially the older crowd)
Yes, my editor for my personal statement cautioned me to not sound too "colloquial" in my PS. And, guys, if you are running out of space such that you have to squish things into contractions, maybe you are being too verbose in the first place. Just a thought.