Can You Use Contractions in APA Style?

Updated November 30, 2017

Avoid Shortcuts in Academic Writing

Contractions should be avoided in papers that follow APA style, whether you call them formal papers, scholarly efforts or academic writing. So yes, this means you should write “I will” instead of “I’ll,” “she is” instead of “she’s,” “do not” instead of “don’t,” “cannot” instead of “can’t” and “have not” instead of “haven’t,” among other contractions. There’s little doubt that saying “Would not this be a good idea?” sounds awkward compared to “Wouldn’t this be a good idea?” In this case, you might wish to recast the sentence. An example: “This may seem to be a good idea” or “Many teachers agree that this is a good idea.” Keep in mind, though, that contractions should remain intact if they’re contained within a quote you’re using in your APA paper.

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With education, health care and small business marketing as her core interests, M.T. Wroblewski has penned pieces for Woman's Day, Family Circle, Ladies Home Journal and many newspapers and magazines. She holds a master's degree in journalism from Northern Illinois University.