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I'm starting a technology and/or programming oriented blog, and I was wondering how formal should the English be, specially when it comes to the shortening of words like "let's".

Ideas?

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closed as not constructive by RegDwigнt Nov 4 '12 at 13:06

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I write my (similar) blog articles for the intended audience... which means less formal than if I was targeting an English Language class –  Andrew Nov 4 '12 at 11:01

2 Answers 2

up vote 3 down vote accepted

I agree with Barrie England's answer. But I think it needs a bit a development.

This really isn't an English usage or grammar question but one for the Stack Exchange Writers section.

Some basic rules about writing:

Consider your audience.

All writers write for themselves as well as for some other audience, whether it be as nebulous as "God" or as diverse and amorphous as "consumers". You seem to have a much wider and more concrete audience in mind than the former and a much narrower one than the latter. A technology and/or programming oriented blog will appeal to a specific segment of Internet society. You're part of that world, so you should have some idea of what most others who populate it enjoy reading. Use that as a guideline for your own writing. Look at the writing of some other technology and programming people, find someone whose writing you really enjoy, and imitate the style until you can decide on your own. That's the way most writers do it. If you already have a well-developed style, use that.

Don't sweat the small stuff.

Should you use contractions such as let's instead of writing let us? Why not? That's the way people normally speak, and a blog isn't a formal speech or textbook that requires adhering to a stuffy style manual. If you want a steady stream of readers, you'll have to satisfy their desire for both good content and entertaining prose. This suggests that you should ask those among your friends who'd most likely want to read your blog whether your writing is in the right register (at the proper level of formality or informality and decorum). I read lots of IT blogs every day. What I dislike is sloppy, thoughtless writing and false facts. Have you seen Onura Amobi's blog about Windows 8? Click on the link to see an example. I like his content, but I have mixed feelings about his writing. Not because of his grammar and syntax, but because of his frequent ranting about the stupidities of other IT pundits. While I may not disagree with his analysis, I don't like his tone when he loses control of his emotions. That, I think, is what Barrie means by persona.

Don't post anything you think you might later regret having said.

Read, reread, and reread everything you want to post before you post it. While "on the Internet no one knows that you're a dog" (no longer true, of course), nothing you post on the Internet ever goes away. And if you screw up, someone will always be happy to remind you of it.

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I agree with Bill's advice. I, too, see no problem with using the word "let's" – unless you were to say something like "The new iPhone let's [sic] you take very nice pictures." I don't think many would judge you poorly if you used a contraction, but there are plenty of other ways your writing style can come off as amateurish. –  J.R. Nov 4 '12 at 10:16
    
This was very helpful. Thank you for much for your time. –  rebelliard Nov 4 '12 at 15:39

It's entirely up to you, depending on the persona you wish to present to the world.

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By persona do you mean that I'd run my chance of getting labeled a hipster of sorts if I do? –  rebelliard Nov 4 '12 at 9:09
    
I'm sorry, I don't understand what you mean. A persona refers to the way the writer is represented in any particular text, whether or not it is a true reflection of the person behind the writer. –  Barrie England Nov 4 '12 at 9:15
    
This ought to be migrated to SE Writers. –  user21497 Nov 4 '12 at 9:55

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