You’re right–It’s not good form to use contractions in a scholarly essay. However, if the contraction is part of a quote that you’re citing, it would be incorrect not to include it. So, by all means, use the contraction!From an English teacher. . .
One measure of the formality of our language is our use of contractions. The paragraph just before this one has five verb contractions: (twice), , and . We use contractions all the time in casual conversation, of course, and using contractions in our text will convey an informal quality. To elevate the style, eliminate the contractions and write out the verbs: "if we can maintain this tone of slight formality without being stuffy, we have hit it just right." It is a very easy matter to do a search for apostrophes in our text, and it is a very useful exercise, also. First, we can check for any possessives we may have formed incorrectly, but then we can also check for contractions. Remember, there is nothing inherently wrong with contracted verbs; however, they are one hallmark of informality, and your instructor may object to their use. It would be wise to know how your instructor feels about contractions and a looser, informal style before you experiment with their use at least in a paper that you're writing for a grade.
If it was a direct quote and you are citing it with the reference then you can use a contraction. I don’t reccommend using a contraction when using your own words in a college essay. It can make you look lazy.
As a general rule, do not use contractions in any formal part of a paper. When using a quotation, contractions are perfectly fine. (Although I would ask your professor if you still have any doubts.) When you are using quotes you are using what someone said or did if you are quoting a narrative. People usually speak in a less formal manner than is required for writing, so using contractions, if they are used in the original manuscript, is fine.I hope this helps.
When speaking with family or friends, we often feel most comfortable using informal, familiar language. For instance, if a friend were to ask you, "Where are you going?", you probably would not answer, "I am going to the beach." In casual conversation, we often use sentence fragments and contractions to save time. During a conversation, we are also unable to stop what we are doing to look up facts and statistics, so we might use imprecise words such as "a lot," "okay," and "et cetera." We may find ourselves using slang, colloquialisms, and vague or unclear words when talking with our friends and family, but formal writing requires precise, unambiguous language.
is different from your behavior while hanging out in the back yard with friends, or at least we hope it is. And part of that difference is the difference in language, a difference not just in the words we use but in what we call . We also recall being told, when we were very young, not to "use that tone of voice with me, Mister (or Missy, as the case may be)!" Just as the pitch and volume of one's voice carry a difference in tone from street to church, the choice of words and the way we put our sentences together convey a sense of tone in our writing. The tone, in turn, conveys our attitude toward our audience and our subject matter. Are we being frivolous or serious, casual or formal, sweet or stuffy? The choice of a single word can change the tone of a paragraph, even an entire essay. In the first sentence of this paragraph, for example, the phrasal verb "hanging out" is considerably more casual than others we might have chosen: gathering, congregating, assembling.
While contractions can be very useful in written English, many experts caution against the use of contractions in formal communication. Since contractions tend to add a light and informal tone to your writing, they are often inappropriate for academic research papers, business presentations, and other types of official correspondence. However, this rule does have some flexibility.
Contractions can be used in any position in a sentence; however, contractions such as "it's" and "they're" sound better when followed by another word or phrase. The reason is that the sounds of "its" and "it's" and "they're" and "they are" are so similar that they can be confusing unless they are used with the context of an additional word. For example:
AESOPIC LANGUAGE: In Russian criticism, the name for oppositional political writing hidden in circumlocution, fables, and vague references so that it can bypass official censorship (Harkins 1). The term refers to Aesop's Fabula, a collection of beast fables in which simple stories about animals contained morals or messages "between the lines," so to speak. The coinage of the term comes from Saltykov, who is both the first to use the term in this sense and the one whom many modern Russian critics consider the best example of such writings (Harkins 1).