Writing Style – Contractions in Minutes

Marg’s question: “My manager says I can’t use contractions in my minutes. What do you think?”BizWritingTip response: First, contractions are words that are shortened by replacing a letter or letters with an apostrophe.

Cannot = can’t
It is/it has = it’s
We will = we’ll

Contractions are not wrong, but they are considered a less formal way of writing. Contracted words are fine for emails and some letters. You would not use them in reports or business cases.

Second, board minutes are considered formal documents so it would not be appropriate to use contractions in them. If you are writing informal minutes for a weekly staff meeting or for a committee that was established handle one event, e.g., planning a fund-raising activity, contractions would be fine.

To sum up, avoid contractions when preparing documents you want to come across as formal or official; use contractions when you want your writing to sound more conversational.