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.

  • 14
    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.
    – yoozer8
    Commented Feb 1, 2012 at 14:44
  • 31
    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
    Commented Feb 1, 2012 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
    Commented Feb 1, 2012 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.
    – MetaEd
    Commented Feb 1, 2012 at 15:32
  • 1
    This is basically a question about register, which is directly on-topic for this site. With 21 upvotes, this question has clear value to this community, and should be reopened.
    – phenry
    Commented Jan 31, 2014 at 22:11

5 Answers 5


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.

  • +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
    Commented Feb 1, 2012 at 8:55
  • 1
    No offense, just to let you know, I was a minute faster :)) Not that it matters, though.
    – Frantisek
    Commented Feb 1, 2012 at 9:05
  • Wow, I overlooked that - sorry :-/
    – schlingel
    Commented Feb 1, 2012 at 9:08
  • 17
    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. Commented Feb 1, 2012 at 13:05
  • +1 to Nathan - That could be the reason, I made one typo in my Stackoverflow post which also got corrected.
    – schlingel
    Commented Feb 1, 2012 at 13:26

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.

  • 4
    So tempting to edit your answer and change "ain't" to "isn't". :-)
    – LarsTech
    Commented Feb 1, 2012 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.

  • 1
    Fair enough, But how do I contact Nag?
    – schlingel
    Commented Feb 1, 2012 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
    Commented Feb 1, 2012 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.


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.

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