Contractions help to create a less formal tone in documentation. Common contractions, such as can’t and don’t, are usually recognizable by readers who are proficient in English, and such contractions don’t pose a problem for human translators.

In general, you can use the following common contractions in content where contractions are acceptable:

  • Contractions that include the word not, such as aren’t, can’t, didn’t, doesn’t, don’t, isn’t, wasn’t, weren’t, won’t, and wouldn’t

    If you want to emphasize the negative, however, do not use such a contraction.

  • Contractions that include is or are, such as it’s, that’s, there’s, they’re, and you’re

    Because such contractions can be confused with possessives, ensure that your usage is correct.

Avoid the following types of contractions, which aren’t common or can be confusing depending on context:

  • Contractions that can be misread as other words, such as let’s

  • Contractions with the interrogative words how, what, when, where, who, and why

  • Nonstandard or obscure contractions, such as mustn’t, mightn’t, should’ve, could’ve, and that’ll

  • Contractions that combine a noun and a verb, such as in “The service’ll stop automatically”

  • Contractions that include a company name, product name, or trademark, such as in “Rackspace’s the leader in hybrid cloud”

Use contractions consistently. Avoid mixing common contractions and spelled-out forms within the same article or set of related articles.