What's Happening

This is discussion archived from a time before the current discussion method was installed.

What I never got was... why are contractions almost always expanded in "spock speak"? OK, I understand the rest of the stuff: Using a longer word is more precise. But contractions? There's no loss of meaning when you say "there's" instead of "there is"; and you save time, too! There's absolutely nothing about contractions that somebody who obviously understands synonyms shouldn't be able to grasp. You'd think it would be MORE logical to use contractions, rather than not.

I suppose it must be a throwback to the time when people thought using contractions in proper writing (or in writing at all) was too slangy. It still isn't done in extremely proper writing, such as scientific papers and legal documents.

Hit-and-Run: Er... what are you talking about? You're still not meant to use contractions in proper writing! (You know, as opposed to internet discussions.) The trope refers to people never using verbal contractions.

Violet Strange: Using the full words rather than contractions is also an issue of precision: I lost count of the number of people I know who think "would've" is a contraction of "would of" rather than "would have" years ago, "whose" and "who's" sound exactly the same but mean different things so omitting the extraneous one makes sense (ditto "there/their" and "they're"), and that's only the tip of the iceberg once you get to non-human/non-native-English speakers since contractions are inconsistent across different languages.

Hit-and-Run: Would of is, as far as I know, a purely American usage. That is, no doubt there are demi-semi-literate people everywhere who say/write "would of" for "would have", but it seems to me that it's also not uncommon among Americans who are at least reasonably educated. Odd. Could it be said to be a dialect feature rather than a mistake?