Apostrophe

From Teflpedia

The apostrophe /əˈpɒstrəfiː/ is a punctuation mark, used extensively in English for contractions and to inflect nouns into the genitive case.

Usage[edit | edit source]

The apostrophe is used to indicate:

  • Possession via possessive ’s, e.g. Susan’s book; today’s news; next week’s meeting;
  • omission of letters:
    • Contractions: It’s mine; they’re here.
    • Normal omissions: o’clock (omitted "f"); ma’am (omitted "d"); goin’ (omitted "g", which means /ɪn/ instead of /ɪŋ/).
    • Uncommon omissions: impo’tant is a spelling that emphasizes the lack of /r/ sound, i.e. /ɪmˈpɔːtənt/ rather than /ɪmˈpɔːrtənt/.
  • omission of numbers: May ’68;
  • It is sometimes used in plurals of abbreviations: CD’s (though most style guides recommend CDs);
  • In certain expressions of time: in two weeks’ time;
  • It is also quite common to hear words finishing in -ing (normal pronunciation /ɪŋ/) in which the final consonant is pronounced /n/. In spelling this is represented by substituting the final "g" by an apostrophe.

Examples include the upper class expression huntin’, shootin’ and fishin’, and the lyrics of pop and rock songs: cryin’drivin’dyin’livin’lyin’rockin’ – '’singin’ – '’sittin’talkin’walkin’ – etc.

Errors[edit | edit source]

A greengrocer’s apostrophe is the incorrect use of an apostrophe is as a plural, e.g. *potato’s and *tomato’s.


Orthography[edit | edit source]

There are actually different symbols used. These are the typesetter’s apostrophe, ’, and the typewriter’s apostrophe, '.

References[edit | edit source]