Take the 2-minute tour ×
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I got edited on Stack Overflow because I used "I'm", "you're" and "I'd" instead of "I am" etc.

Is it considered rude to use contractions like that in informal conversations on the internet? I would not use them in papers but, I thought on Stack Overflow it was okay.

share|improve this question

closed as off topic by MετάEd, KitFox, Matt Эллен, Mr. Shiny and New 安宇, aedia λ Feb 1 '12 at 19:51

Questions on English Language & Usage Stack Exchange are expected to relate to English language and usage within the scope defined by the community. Consider editing the question or leaving comments for improvement if you believe the question can be reworded to fit within the scope. Read more about reopening questions here.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

    
At least you know who has edited, so you could probably clarify over chat I suppose. It's unlike indiscriminate anonymous down voting. –  Kris Feb 1 '12 at 9:41
8  
Were those the only changes? Perhaps the editing user was making minor corrections to other typos/spelling mistakes, needed to change a few more characters to satisfy the minimum edit, and expanded all of your contractions to do so. –  Jim Feb 1 '12 at 14:44
21  
The reason he edited those is that correcting the spelling of "measures" and lower-casing the "I'M" is only a change of two characters, and suggested edits must change at least six characters. –  mmyers Feb 1 '12 at 14:45
1  
@mmyers That's probably correct. I did't know that there were such limitations till Nathan pointed that out and so I accepted Barries answer. –  schlingel Feb 1 '12 at 15:05
7  
This question is about etiquette generally, and etiquette on stackoverflow. Suggest the latter be redirected to meta.se or meta.elu.se. –  MετάEd Feb 1 '12 at 15:32

6 Answers 6

up vote 44 down vote accepted

They certainly aren't rude, but editing them with no explanation is.

share|improve this answer
10  
exactly. And possibly the rude person is heading for the Strunk & White badge? –  Tomas Feb 1 '12 at 13:52

Contractions definitely aren't rude to use in informal conversations. It's difficult to say why anyone would change your text on SE network that way, but it definitely isn't usual.

The only reason I can come up with is that if you're not a native speaker or your English isn't good enough, someone was trying to help save your question and dramatically edited your original text while subconsciously replacing all the contractions with no more reason than their own habit.

share|improve this answer
    
+1 for the nice explanation I'm certainly not the best in English but the text wasn't that bad. I'm accepting Barrie though, because he was a minute faster. –  schlingel Feb 1 '12 at 8:55
1  
No offense, just to let you know, I was a minute faster :)) Not that it matters, though. –  RiMMER Feb 1 '12 at 9:05
    
Wow, I overlooked that - sorry :-/ –  schlingel Feb 1 '12 at 9:08
2  
+1 to compensate. –  Barrie England Feb 1 '12 at 10:10
14  
Another possibility is that the StackExchange system doesn't allow edits below a certain size. For instance, in your answer, you typed "you English" when you probably meant to type "your English", but when I tried to correct that, the site said my edit was too small and suggested I find more things to correct. :( If one were looking for pointless changes to make, contractions would be a likely candidate. –  Nathan Long Feb 1 '12 at 13:05

The editor (Nag) of your recent post on stack overflow lives in India. In my experience, Indians rarely use contractions, even in informal speech. For formal speech, the difference in use of contractions is even greater between the US and Britain and India. See Table 3.52.

IMHO, the choice of formality/informality, along with other matters of style and voice, should be left to the original poster. "Fixing" their voice to read like yours just ain't right.

share|improve this answer
4  
So tempting to edit your answer and change "ain't" to "isn't". :-) –  LarsTech Feb 1 '12 at 18:36

I believe the quote "Don't assume malice when ignorance can suffice" works here. Whoever edited probably did not intend on insulting or being rude to you, but was probably editing your post for other reasons and default to their style of writing.

I disagree with your chosen answer, as it displays ignorance backwards. You should enlighten us on what the actual cause was, by talking to the editor.

To directly answer your question, it is not rude to use contractions, but it is less professional from my experiences. I try not to use them, but am not 100% at it.

share|improve this answer
1  
Fair enough, But how do I contact Nag? –  schlingel Feb 1 '12 at 14:18
    
@schlingel, I think StackExchange has no method to contact other members directly, unless they choose to share their info. Could you just contact him by commenting on the edit in question? –  Xonatron Feb 1 '12 at 15:53

Contractions are perfectly fine for the sort of semi-formal writing that you'd use on Stack Overflow. They're certainly not rude.

share|improve this answer

The short answer is: No. Whether to spell out such phrases, as, "I am," or, "I would," is a personal choice. Both are grammatically correct in and appropriate in the English language. Using a contraction can be more expediant for the writer at the time. However, editing such contractions is rude.

share|improve this answer

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.