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Had Not Or Hadn't? (1 Viewer)

TheMightyAz

Mentor
Just a simple question really. How is it seen nowadays? I always find 'had not' a little clunky but have stuck with it if I started with it. But in general, is it the norm to use the contraction? I know genre sometimes plays a role but I'm thinking 'overall'.
 

TheMightyAz

Mentor
For me it's entirely about the voice of the character or story; there is no hard and fast rule.

I was hoping their would be an agreed upon convention. I think I'm going to work with 'hadn't' from now on to see how it feels. Cheers.
 

bdcharles

Wɾ¡ʇ¡∩9
Staff member
Media Manager
I have to entirely force myself to use contractions; if I had my way, I'd write all Dickensian and florid.
 

velo

Retired Supervisor
I wouldn't create an arbitrary usage you prefer, both forms are equally valid and can be used deliberately to reinforce the voice/scene/characters you are trying to portray. A rough-living street urchin using "had not", for example, might seem entirely out of character and be jarring to the reader. And the same might happen for someone who would normally speak more formally to use the contraction.
 

TheMightyAz

Mentor
I wouldn't create an arbitrary usage you prefer, both forms are equally valid and can be used deliberately to reinforce the voice/scene/characters you are trying to portray. A rough-living street urchin using "had not", for example, might seem entirely out of character and be jarring to the reader. And the same might happen for someone who would normally speak more formally to use the contraction.

Yeah, obviously in dialogue you'd pick and choose. I'm talking in the narrative itself.
 

bdcharles

Wɾ¡ʇ¡∩9
Staff member
Media Manager
Your style kinda suits contractions though, doesn't it. I'm constantly changing my style ... but then again, for all I know, you do to.

Yeah, I suppose it sort of does and it doesn't. I quite like using more formal styles just so I can then be all crazy and drop a don't or a can't or a sha'n't in select places.

Living on the edge, some call it ;)
 

clark

Met3 Member
Staff member
Chief Mentor
Jay-suss, bd! Be careful! Before you know it you'll start messin' up the yolks after a perfect fry, or jaywalkin' or lickin' yer knife . . .down these dark paths lies unDickensian sluffy usage 'n criminal syntactic slippage. Mr. Gradgrind might come for dinner . . . .
 

bdcharles

Wɾ¡ʇ¡∩9
Staff member
Media Manager
Jay-suss, bd! Be careful! Before you know it you'll start messin' up the yolks after a perfect fry, or jaywalkin' or lickin' yer knife . . .down these dark paths lies unDickensian sluffy usage 'n criminal syntactic slippage. Mr. Gradgrind might come for dinner . . . .

I should welcome him, and spend dinner correcting him.
 

Sir-KP

Senior Member
I avoid contractions in narrative paragraphs.

Both are cool though since it's not should of. Who tf came up with "should of" in the first place? I wonder if the should-of users are aware of 'should've'.
 

Phil Istine

WF Veterans
"Hadn't" seems to be one of those contractions (perhaps the only one?) where the contraction feels a little better than the full text - at least for the most part. As already stated though, the voice of the focal character will influence the author's choice. I might also add that "had not" may be better in a sentence where the author wishes to stress the "not". Also, if the word "knot" appears close by, or another "not", "hadn't" would be useful in order to avoid sounding repetitious.
Just my opinion - I'm not so daft as to offer it as a rigid rule.
 

TheMightyAz

Mentor
"Hadn't" seems to be one of those contractions (perhaps the only one?) where the contraction feels a little better than the full text - at least for the most part. As already stated though, the voice of the focal character will influence the author's choice. I might also add that "had not" may be better in a sentence where the author wishes to stress the "not". Also, if the word "knot" appears close by, or another "not", "hadn't" would be useful in order to avoid sounding repetitious.
Just my opinion - I'm not so daft as to offer it as a rigid rule.

Yes, that's why I asked. I'm I taking from this that it's perfectly acceptable to mix the two in the same story? I have always stuck to one or the other depending on which I chose to go with.
 

LCLee

Financial Supporter
Some times I feel forced to use contractions, like the… I had had...past perfect.. I always use I'd had.. There are others, but I can't think of them right now.
My historical fiction novel I avoided some contractions, like 'can't and 'c'mon'... even though I found that contraction were used in that time period—1800s—
 

Ralph Rotten

Staff member
Mentor
Just a simple question really. How is it seen nowadays? I always find 'had not' a little clunky but have stuck with it if I started with it. But in general, is it the norm to use the contraction? I know genre sometimes plays a role but I'm thinking 'overall'.


It really depends on WHO is saying it.
If it is a formal narrator then it should be HAD NOT.
If it is a first person, informal narration then conjunctions are fully okay.
If it is dialog then it is okay (and much more.)
 
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