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Punctuation

apostrophe ( ' )
brackets ( [ ], ( ), { }, ⟨ ⟩ )
colon ( : )
comma ( , )
dashes ( , , , )
ellipses ( , ... )
exclamation mark ( ! )
full stop/period ( . )
guillemets ( « » )
hyphen ( -, )
question mark ( ? )
quotation marks ( ‘ ’, “ ” )
semicolon ( ; )
slash/stroke ( / )
solidus ( )
Word dividers
spaces ( ) () () ( ) () () ()
interpunct ( · )
General typography
ampersand ( & )
at sign ( @ )
asterisk ( * )
backslash ( \ )
bullet ( )
caret ( ^ )
copyright symbol ( © )
currency generic: ( ¤ )
specific: ฿, ¢, $, , ƒ, , , , £, , ¥, , , , , , ,
daggers ( , )
degree ( ° )
ditto mark ( )
inverted exclamation mark ( ¡ )
inverted question mark ( ¿ )
number sign/pound/hash ( # )
numero sign ( )
ordinal indicator (º, ª)
percent (etc.) ( %, ‰, )
pilcrow ( )
prime ( )
registered trademark ( ® )
section sign ( § )
service mark ( )
sound recording copyright symbol ( )
tilde ( ~ )
trademark ( )
underscore/understrike ( _ )
vertical/broken bar, pipe ( |, ¦ )
Uncommon typography
asterism ( )
falsum ( )
index/fist ( )
therefore sign ( )
because sign ( )
interrobang ( )
irony mark/percontation point ( ؟ )
lozenge ( )
reference mark ( )
tie ( )

The apostrophe  or  ' ) is a punctuation mark, and sometimes a diacritic mark, in languages that use the Latin alphabet or certain other alphabets. In English, it serves two main purposes--the omission of one or more letters (as in doesn't for does not) and the marking of possessives (as in the cat's whiskers). (In strictly limited cases, it is allowed to assist in marking plurals, but most authorities now disapprove of such usage; see below.) According to the OED, the word comes ultimately from Greek ἡ ἀπόστροφος [προσῳδία] (hē apóstrophos [prosōidía], “[the accent of] ‘turning away’, or elision”), through Latin and French.[1]

The apostrophe is different from the closing single quotation mark (usually rendered identically but serving a different purpose), and from the similar-looking prime (which is used to indicate measurement in feet or arcminutes, and for various mathematical purposes).

Contents

English language usage

Possessive apostrophe

An apostrophe is used in English to indicate possession. The practice ultimately derives from the Old English genitive case: the “of” case, itself used as a possessive in many languages. The genitive form of many nouns ended with the inflection -es, which evolved into a simple -s for the possessive ending. An apostrophe was later added to mark the omitted e.[2]

Joint and separate possession

A distinction is made between joint possession (Jason and Sue's emails: the emails of both Jason and Sue), and separate possession (Jason's and Sue's emails: the emails of Jason, and the emails of Sue). Style guides differ only in how much detail they provide concerning these.[3] Their consensus: in joint possession only the last possessor has possessive inflection; in separate possession all the possessors have possessive inflection. But if any of the possessors is indicated by a pronoun, then for both joint and separate possession all of the possessors have possessive inflection (His and her emails; His, her, and Anthea's emails; Jason's and her emails; His and Sue's emails; His and Sue's wedding; His and Sue's weddings).

Note that in cases of joint possession the above rule does not distinguish between a situation in which only one or more jointly possessed items perform a grammatical role and a situation in which both one or more such items and a non-possessing entity independently perform that role. Although verb number suffices in some cases ("Jason and Sue's dog has porphyria") and context suffices in others ("Jason and Sue's emails rarely exceed 200 characters in length"), number and/or grammatical position often prevent a resolution of ambiguity:

  • Where multiple items are possessed and context is not dispositive, a rule forbidding distribution of the possessive merely shifts ambiguity: Suppose that Jason and Sue had one or more children who died in the 2003 Staten Island Ferry crash and that none of Jason's children by anyone other than Sue were killed. Under a rule forbidding distribution of the joint possessive, writing "Jason and Sue's children [rather than "Jason's and Sue's children"] died in the crash" eliminates the implication that Jason lost children of whom Sue was not the mother, but it introduces ambiguity as to whether Jason himself was killed.
  • Moreover, in cases where only one item is possessed, the rule against distribution of the joint possessive introduces ambiguity (unless context happens to resolve it): Read in light of a rule requiring distribution, the sentence "Jason and Sue's dog died after being hit by a bus" makes clear that the dog belonged to Sue alone and that Jason survived or was not involved, whereas a rule prohibiting distribution forces ambiguity as to both whether Jason (co-)owned the dog and whether he was killed.

General principles for the possessive apostrophe

Basic rule (singular nouns)

For most singular nouns the ending 's is added; e.g., the cat's whiskers.

  • If a singular noun ends with an /s/ or a /z/ sound (spelled with -s, -se, -z, -ce, for example), practice varies as to whether to add 's or the apostrophe alone. A widely accepted practice is to follow whichever spoken form is judged better: the boss's shoes, Mrs Jones' hat (or Mrs Jones's hat, if that spoken form is preferred). In many cases, both spoken and written forms differ between writers. (See details below.)
Basic rule (plural nouns)

When the noun is a normal plural, with an added s, no extra s is added in the possessive; so pens' caps (where there is more than one pen) is correct rather than pens's caps.

  • If the plural is not one that is formed by adding s, an s is added for the possessive, after the apostrophe: children's hats, women's hairdresser, some people's eyes (but compare some peoples' recent emergence into nationhood, where peoples is meant as the plural of the singular people). These principles are universally accepted.
  • A few English nouns have plurals that are not spelled with a final s but end in an /s/ or a /z/ sound: mice (plural of mouse, and for compounds like dormouse, titmouse), dice (when used as the plural of die), pence (a plural of penny, with compounds like sixpence that now tend to be taken as singulars). In the absence of specific exceptional treatment in style guides, the possessives of these plurals are formed by adding an apostrophe and an s in the standard way: seven titmice's tails were found, the dice's last fall was a seven, his few pence's value was not enough to buy bread. These would often be rephrased, where possible: the last fall of the dice was a seven.[4]
Basic rule (compound nouns)

Compound nouns have their singular possessives formed with an apostrophe and an added s, in accordance with the rules given above: the Attorney-General's husband; the Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports' prerogative; this Minister for Justice's intervention; her father-in-law's new wife.

  • In such examples, the plurals are formed with an s that does not occur at the end: e.g., Attorneys-General. A problem therefore arises with the possessive plurals of these compounds. Sources that rule on the matter appear to favour the following forms, in which there is both an s added to form the plural, and a separate s added for the possessive: the Attorneys-General's husbands; successive Ministers for Justice's interventions; their fathers-in-law's new wives.[5] Because these constructions stretch the resources of punctuation beyond comfort, in practice they are normally reworded: interventions by successive Ministers for Justice.[6][7]
With other punctuation; compounds with pronouns

If the word or compound includes, or even ends with, a punctuation mark, an apostrophe and an s are still added in the usual way: Awaye!'s Paulette Whitten recorded Bob Wilson's story;[8] Washington, D.C.'s museums,[9] assuming that the prevailing style requires full stops in D.C.

  • If the word or compound already includes a possessive apostrophe, a double possessive results: Tom's sisters' careers; the head of marketing's husband's preference; the master of foxhounds' best dog's death. Some style guides, while allowing that these constructions are possible, advise rephrasing: the preference of the head of marketing's husband. If an original apostrophe, or apostrophe with s, occurs at the end, it is left by itself to do double duty: Our employees are better paid than McDonald's employees; Standard & Poor's indexes are widely used; the 5uu's first album (the fixed forms of McDonald's and Standard & Poor's already include possessive apostrophes; 5uu's already has a non-possessive apostrophe before its final s). No noun or noun phrase ever includes two apostrophes at its end. For similar cases involving geographical names, see below.
  • By extended application of the principles stated above, the possessives of all phrases whose wording is fixed are formed in the same way:
For complications with foreign phrases and titles, see below.
Time, money, and similar

An apostrophe is used in time and money references, among others, in constructions such as one hour's respite, two weeks' holiday, a dollar's worth, five pounds' worth, one mile's drive from here. This is like an ordinary possessive use. For example, one hour's respite means a respite of one hour (exactly as the cat's whiskers means the whiskers of the cat). Exceptions are accounted for in the same way: three months pregnant (in modern usage, we do not say pregnant of three months).

Possessive pronouns and adjectives

No apostrophe is used in the following possessive pronouns and adjectives: yours, his, hers, ours, its, theirs, and whose. (Many people use it's for the possessive of it, but authorities are unanimous that it's can only be a contraction of it is or it has.[12]) All other possessive pronouns not ending in s do take an apostrophe: one's; everyone's; somebody's, nobody else's, etc. With plural forms, the apostrophe follows the s, as with nouns: the others' husbands (but compare They all looked at each other's husbands, in which both each and other are singular).

Importance for disambiguation

Each of these four phrases (listed in Steven Pinker's The Language Instinct) has a distinct meaning:

  • My sister's friend's investments (the investments belonging to a friend of my sister)
  • My sister's friends' investments (the investments belonging to several friends of my sister)
  • My sisters' friend's investments (the investments belonging to a friend of several of my sisters)
  • My sisters' friends' investments (the investments belonging to several friends of several of my sisters)

Kingsley Amis, on being challenged to produce a sentence whose meaning depended on a possessive apostrophe, came up with:

  • Those things over there are my husband's. (Those things over there belong to my husband.)
  • Those things over there are my husbands. (I'm married to those men over there.)[13]

Singular nouns ending with an “s” or “z” sound

This subsection deals with singular nouns pronounced with a sibilant sound at the end: /s/ or /z/. The spelling of these ends with -s, -se, -z, -ze, -ce, -x, or -xe.

Many respected sources have required that practically all singular nouns, including those ending with a sibilant sound, have possessive forms with an extra s after the apostrophe. Examples include the Modern Language Association and The Economist.[14] Such sources would demand possessive singulars like these: Senator Jones's umbrella; Mephistopheles's cat. On the other hand, some modern writers omit the extra s in all cases, and Chicago Manual of Style allows this as an “alternative practice”.[15] Generally, Chicago Manual of Style is in line with the majority of current guides, and recommends the traditional practice but provides for several exceptions to accommodate spoken usage, including the omission of the extra s after a polysyllabic word ending in a sibilant.[16] Rules that modify or extend the standard principle have included the following:

  • If the singular possessive is difficult or awkward to pronounce with an added sibilant, do not add an extra s; these exceptions are supported by The Guardian,[17] Emory University's writing center,[18] and The American Heritage Book of English Usage.[19] Such sources permit possessive singulars like these: Socrates' later suggestion; James's house, or James' house, depending on which pronunciation is intended.
  • Classical, biblical, and similar names ending in a sibilant, especially if they are polysyllabic, do not take an added s in the possessive; among sources giving exceptions of this kind are The Times[20] and The Elements of Style, which make general stipulations, and Vanderbilt University,[21] which mentions only Moses and Jesus. As a particular case, Jesus'  is very commonly written instead of Jesus's – even by people who would otherwise add 's in, for example, James's or Chris's. Jesus'  is referred to as “an accepted liturgical archaism” in Hart's Rules.

Similar examples of notable names ending in an s that are often given a possessive apostrophe with no additional s include Dickens and Williams. There is often a policy of leaving off the additional s on any such name, but this can prove problematic when specific names are contradictory (for example, St James' Park in Newcastle [the football ground] and the area of St. James's Park in London). For more details on practice with geographic names, see the relevant section below.

Some writers like to reflect standard spoken practice in cases like these with sake: for convenience' sake, for goodness' sake, for appearance' sake, for compromise' sake, etc. This punctuation is preferred in major style guides. Others prefer to add 's: for convenience's sake.[22] Still others prefer to omit the apostrophe when there is an s sound before sake: for morality's sake, but for convenience sake.[23]

Nouns ending with silent “s”, “x”, or “z”

The English possessive of French nouns ending in a silent s, x, or z is rendered differently by different authorities. Some prefer Descartes' and Dumas', while others insist on Descartes's and Dumas's. Certainly a sibilant is pronounced in these cases; the theoretical question is whether the existing final letter is sounded, or whether s needs to be added. Similar examples with x or z: Sauce Périgueux's main ingredient is truffle; His pince-nez's loss went unnoticed; “Verreaux('s) eagle, a large, predominantly black eagle, Aquila verreauxi,...” (OED, entry for “Verreaux”, with silent x; see Verreaux's eagle); in each of these some writers might omit the added s. The same principles and residual uncertainties apply with “naturalised” English words, like Illinois and Arkansas.[24]

For possessive plurals of words ending in silent x, z, or s, the few authorities that address the issue at all typically call for an added s, and require that the apostrophe precede the s: The Loucheux's homeland is in the Yukon; Compare the two Dumas's literary achievements.[25] The possessive of a cited French title with a silent plural ending is uncertain: “Trois femmes's long and complicated publication history”,[26] but “Les noces' singular effect was 'exotic primitive'...” (with nearby sibilants -ce- in noces and s- in singular).[27] Compare treatment of other titles, above.

Guides typically seek a principle that will yield uniformity, even for foreign words that fit awkwardly with standard English punctuation.

Possessives in geographic names

Place names in the United States generally do not use the possessive apostrophe. The United States Board on Geographic Names, which has responsibility for formal naming of municipalities and geographic features, has deprecated the use of possessive apostrophes since 1890. Only five names of natural features in the U.S. are officially spelled with a genitive apostrophe (one example being Martha's Vineyard[28]). On the other hand, the United Kingdom has Bishop's Stortford, Bishop's Castle and King's Lynn (but St Albans, St Andrews and St Helens) and, while Newcastle United play at St James' Park, and Exeter City at St James Park, London has a St James's Park (this whole area of London is named after St James's Church, Piccadilly[29]). The special circumstances of the latter case may be this: the customary pronunciation of this place name is reflected in the addition of an extra -s; since usage is firmly against a doubling of the final -s without an apostrophe, this place name has an apostrophe. This could be regarded as an example of a double genitive: it refers to the park of the church of St James. None of this detracts from the fact that omission of the apostrophe in geographical names is becoming a clear standard in most English-speaking countries, including Australia.[30] Practice in the United Kingdom and Canada is not so uniform.[31]

Possessives in names of organizations

Sometimes the apostrophe is omitted in the names of clubs, societies, and other organizations, even though the standard principles seem to require it: Country Women's Association, but International Aviation Womens Association;[32] Magistrates' Court of Victoria,[33] but Federated Ship Painters and Dockers Union. Usage is variable and inconsistent. Style guides typically advise consulting an official source for the standard form of the name; some tend towards greater prescriptiveness, for or against such an apostrophe.[34] As the case of womens shows, it is not possible to analyse these forms simply as non-possessive plurals, since women is the only correct plural form of woman.

Possessives in business names

Where a business name is based on a family name, it may or may not take an apostrophe (compare Sainsbury's and Harrods), though in recent times there has been an increasing tendency to drop the apostrophe. Names based on a first name are more likely to take an apostrophe (Joe's Crab Shack). A small activist group called the Apostrophe Protection Society[35] has campaigned for large retailers such as Harrods, Currys and Selfridges to reinstate their missing punctuation. A spokesperson for Barclays PLC stated, “It has just disappeared over the years. Barclays is no longer associated with the family name.”[36]

Apostrophe showing omission

An apostrophe is commonly used to indicate omitted characters:

  • It is used in contractions, such as can't from cannot, it's from it is or it has, and I'll from I will or I shall.[37]
  • It is used in abbreviations, as gov't for government, or '70s for 1970s. In modern usage, apostrophes are generally omitted when letters are removed from the start of a word, particularly for a compound word. For example, it is not common to write 'bus (for omnibus), 'phone (telephone), 'net (Internet). However, if the shortening is unusual, dialectal or archaic, the apostrophe may still be used to mark it (e.g., 'bout for about, 'less for unless, 'twas for it was). Sometimes a misunderstanding of the original form of a word results in an incorrect contraction. A common example: 'til for until, though till is in fact the original form, and until is derived from it.
    • The spelling fo'c's'le, contracted from the nautical term forecastle, is notable for having three apostrophes. The spelling bo's'n's (from boatswain's), as in Bo's'n's Mate, also has three apostrophes, two showing omission and one possession. Fo'c's'le may also take a possessive s – as in the fo'c's'le's timbers – giving four apostrophes in one word.[38]
  • It is sometimes used when the normal form of an inflection seems awkward or unnatural; for example, KO'd rather than KOed (where KO is used as a verb meaning "to knock out"); "a spare pince-nez'd man" (cited in OED, entry for "pince-nez"; pince-nezed is also in citations).
  • In certain colloquial contexts an apostrophe's function as possessive or contractive can depend on other punctuation.
    • We rehearsed for Friday's opening night. (We rehearsed for the opening night on Friday.)
    • We rehearsed, for Friday's opening night. (We rehearsed because Friday is opening night.)
  • Eye dialects use apostrophes in creating the effect of a non-standard pronunciation.

Use in forming certain plurals

An apostrophe is used by some writers to form a plural for abbreviations, acronyms, and symbols where adding just s rather than 's may leave things ambiguous or inelegant. Some specific cases:

  • It is generally acceptable to use apostrophes to show plurals of single lower-case letters, such as be sure to dot your i's and cross your t's. Some style guides would prefer to use a change of font: dot your is and cross your ts.[citation needed] Upper case letters need no apostrophe (I got three As in my exams[39]) except when there is a risk of misreading, such as at the start of a sentence: A's are the highest marks achievable in these exams.
  • For groups of years, the apostrophe at the end cannot be regarded as necessary, since there is no possibility of misreading. For this reason, most authorities prefer 1960s to 1960's[39] (although the latter is noted by at least one source as acceptable in American usage),[40] and 90s or '90s to 90's or '90's.
  • The apostrophe is sometimes used in forming the plural of numbers (for example, 1000's of years); however, as with groups of years, it is unnecessary: there is no possibility of misreading. Most sources are against this usage.
  • The apostrophe is often used in plurals of symbols. Again, since there can be no misreading, this is often regarded as incorrect.[39] That page has too many &s and #s on it.
  • Finally, a few sources accept its use in an alternative spelling of the plurals of a very few short words, such as do, ex, yes, no, which become do's, ex's, etc.[41] In each case, dos, exes, yeses (or yesses) and noes would be preferred by most authorities. Nevertheless, many writers are still inclined to use such an apostrophe when the word is thought to look awkward or unusual without one.

Use in non-English names

Names that are not strictly native to English sometimes have an apostrophe substituted to represent other characters (see also As a mark of elision, below).

  • Anglicised versions of Irish surnames often contain an apostrophe after an O, for example O'Doole. This arose from a rendering of the Irish Ó.[citation needed]
  • Some Scottish and Irish surnames use an apostrophe after an M, for example M'Gregor. The apostrophe here may be seen as marking a contraction where the prefix Mc or Mac would normally appear. (In earlier and meticulous current usage, the symbol is actually – a kind of reversed apostrophe that is sometimes called a turned comma, which eventually came to be written as the letter c, whose shape is similar.)
  • In science fiction, the apostrophe is often used in alien names, sometimes to indicate a glottal stop (for example T'Pau in Star Trek), but also sometimes simply for decoration.

Use in transliterations

In transliterated foreign words, an apostrophe may be used to separate letters or syllables that otherwise would likely be interpreted incorrectly. For example:

  • in the Arabic word mus'haf, a transliteration of مصحف, the syllables are as in mus·haf, not mu·shaf);
  • in the Japanese name Shin'ichi (which can be written in many ways using kanji but corresponds in all cases to hiragana しんいち shi·n·i·chi), the letters n and i are separate moras and the name should be parsed as shin + ichi; although shi and nichi by themselves are existing and common Japanese words, their combination would correspond to hiragana しにち.

Furthermore, an apostrophe may be used to indicate a glottal stop in transliterations. For example:

  • in the Arabic word Qur'an, a common transliteration of (part of) القرآن al-qur’ān, the apostrophe corresponds to the letter hamza, one of the letters in the Arabic alphabet.

Incorrect English use

Incorrect use of the apostrophe is widespread, and the abuse of the punctuation mark generates heated debate. The British founder of The Apostrophe Protection Society earned a 2001 Ig Nobel prize for "efforts to protect, promote and defend the differences between plural and possessive".[42] A 2004 report by OCR, a British examination board, stated that "the inaccurate use of the apostrophe is so widespread as to be almost universal".[43] A 2008 survey found that nearly half of the UK adults polled were unable to use the apostrophe correctly.[44]

Misused apostrophes are often referred to as "greengrocers' apostrophes", "rogue apostrophes" or "idiot's apostrophes" (a literal translation of the German word Deppenapostroph which criticises the misapplication of apostrophes in Denglisch).

Greengrocers' apostrophes

Sign to Green Craigs housing development

Apostrophes used incorrectly to form plurals are known as greengrocers' apostrophes (or grocers' apostrophes, or sometimes humorously greengrocers apostrophe's). The practice comes from the identical sound of the plural and possessive forms of most English nouns. It is often considered a form of hypercorrection coming from a widespread ignorance of the proper use of the apostrophe or of punctuation in general. Lynne Truss, author of Eats, Shoots & Leaves, points out that before the 19th century, it was standard orthography to use the apostrophe to form a plural of a foreign-sounding word that ended in a vowel (e.g., banana's, folio's, logo's, quarto's, pasta's, ouzo's) to clarify pronunciation. Truss says this usage is no longer considered proper in formal writing.[45]

The term is believed to have been coined in the middle of the 20th century by a teacher of languages working in Liverpool, at a time when such mistakes were common in the handwritten signs and advertisements of greengrocers (e.g., Apple's 1/- a pound, Orange's 1/6d a pound). Some have argued that its use in mass communication by employees of well-known companies has led to the less grammatically able assuming it to be correct and adopting the habit themselves.[46]

The same error is sometimes made by non-native speakers of English. For example, in Dutch, the apostrophe is correctly inserted before the s when pluralising words ending in a, e, i, o, u, or y, for example baby's (English babies) and jury's (English juries). This often produces so-called "Dunglish" errors when carried over into English.[47] Hyperforeignism has been formalised in some pseudo-anglicisms. For example, the French word pin's (from English pin) is used (with the apostrophe in both singular and plural) for collectable lapel pins. Similarly, there is an Andorran football club called FC Rànger's (after such British clubs as Rangers F.C.), a Japanese dance group called Super Monkey's, and a Japanese pop punk band called the Titan Go King's.[48]

The widespread use of apostrophes before the s of plural nouns has led some to believe that an apostrophe is also needed before the s of the third-person present tense of a verb. Thus, he take's, it begin's, etc.

While the greengrocers' apostrophe is more likely to be found in small retail businesses, the UK's largest supermarket chain, Tesco, omits the mark where correct English requires one. Its in-store signage advertises (among other items) mens magazines, girls toys, kids books and womens shoes. In his book Troublesome Words, author Bill Bryson lambasts Tesco for this, stating that "the mistake is inexcusable, and those who make it are linguistic Neanderthals."[49]

Advocates of greater or lesser use

A sign diverting passengers to a temporary taxi rank at Leeds railway station, West Yorkshire, with the extraneous apostrophe crossed out by an unknown vandal.

George Bernard Shaw, a proponent of English spelling reform on phonetic principles, argued that the apostrophe was mostly redundant. He did not use it for spelling cant or hes when writing Pygmalion. He did however allow I'm and it's.[50] Hubert Selby, Jr. used a slash instead of an apostrophe mark for contractions and did not use an apostrophe at all for possessives. Lewis Carroll made greater use of apostrophes, and frequently used sha'n't.[51] Neither author's use has become widespread.

Other misuses

The British pop group Hear'Say famously made unconventional use of an apostrophe in its name. Truss comments that "the naming of Hear'Say in 2001 was [...] a significant milestone on the road to punctuation anarchy".[52] Dexys Midnight Runners, on the other hand, omit the apostrophe (though "dexys" can be understood as a plural form of "dexy", rather than a possessive form).

An apostrophe wrongly thought to be misused in popular culture occurs in the name of Liverpudlian rock band The La's. This apostrophe is often thought to be a mistake; but in fact it marks omission of the letter d. The name comes from the Scouse slang for "The Lads".

In 2009, a resident in Tunbridge Wells was accused of vandalism after he painted apostrophes on road signs which had incorrectly spelt St John's Close as St Johns Close.[53]

Non-English use

As a mark of elision

In many languages, especially European languages, the apostrophe is used to indicate the elision of one or more sounds, as in English.

  • In Afrikaans the apostrophe is used to show that letters have been omitted from words. The most common use is in the indefinite article 'n which is a contraction of een meaning "one" (the number). As the initial e is omitted and cannot be capitalised, if a sentence begins with 'n the second word in the sentence is capitalised. For example: 'n Boek is groen., "A book is green". In addition, the apostrophe is used for plurals and diminutives where the root end with certain vowels, e.g. foto's, taxi's, Lulu's, Lulu'tjie, garage's etc.[54]
  • In Danish, apostrophes are sometimes seen on commercial materials. One might commonly see Ta' mig med ("Take me with [you]") next to a stand with advertisement leaflets; that would be written Tag mig med in standard orthography. As in German, the apostrophe must not be used to indicate the possessive, except when there is already an s present in the base form, as in Lukas' bog.
  • In the Dutch language, the apostrophe is again used to indicate omitted characters. For example, the indefinite article een can be shortened to 'n, and the definite article het shortened to 't. When this happens with the first word of a sentence, only the second word of the sentence is capitalised. In general, this way of using the apostrophe is considered non-standard, except in 's morgens, 's middags, 's avonds, 's nachts (for des morgens, des middags, des avonds, des nachts: "at morning, at afternoon, at evening, at night"). In addition, the apostrophe is used for plurals where the singulars end with certain vowels, e.g. foto's, taxi's; and for the genitive of proper names ending with these vowels, e.g. Anna's, Otto's. These are in fact elided vowels; use of the apostrophe prevents spellings like fotoos and Annaas.
  • In French phrases such as coup d'état and maître d'hôtel (the latter often shortened to maître d', when used by English speakers), the vowel in the preposition de ("of") is elided because the word which follows it also starts with a vowel (or a mute h). Similarly, French has l'église instead of la église ("the church"), qu'il instead of que il ("that he"), and so on. Feminine singular possessive adjectives do not undergo elision, but change to the masculine form instead: ma preceding église becomes mon église ("my church").[55] Analogous constructions are also common in Italian and Catalan. French and Italian surnames sometimes contain apostrophes of elision, e.g. d'Alembert, D'Angelo.
  • German usage is very similar: an apostrophe is used almost exclusively to indicate omitted letters. It must not be used for plurals or most of the possessive forms (Max' Vater being one of very few exceptions); although both usages are widespread, they are deemed incorrect. The German equivalent of greengrocers' apostrophes would be the derogatory Deppenapostroph ("idiots' apostrophe"). (See the article Apostrophitis in German Wikipedia.)
  • The Fundamento de Esperanto limits the elision mark to the definite article l' (from la) and singular nominative nouns (kor' from koro, "heart"). This is mostly confined to poetry. Non-standard dank' al (from danke al, "thanks to") and del' (from de la, "of the") are nonetheless frequent. In-word elision is usually marked with a hyphen, as in D-ro (from doktoro, "Dr"). Some early guides used and advocated the use of apostrophes between word parts, to aid recognition of such compound words as gitar'ist'o, "guitarist".
  • Initialisms in Hebrew are denoted with a geresh, often typed as an apostrophe. A double geresh (״), known by the plural form gershayim, is used to denote acronyms; it is inserted before (i.e., to the right of) the last letter of the acronym.
  • In Irish, the past tense of verbs beginning with an F or vowel begins with d' (elision of do), for example do oscail becomes d’oscail ("opened") and do fhill becomes d’fhill ("returned"). The copula is is often elided to ’s, and do ("to"), mo ("my") etc. are elided before F's and vowels.
  • In Luganda, when a word ending with a vowel is followed by a word beginning with a vowel, the final vowel of the first word is elided and the initial vowel of the second word lengthened in compensation. When the first word is a monosyllable this elision is represented in the orthography with an apostrophe: in taata w'abaana "the father of the children", wa ("of") becomes w'; in y'ani? ("who is it?"), ye ("who") becomes y'. But the final vowel of a polysyllable is always spelt out in writing, even if it is elided in speech: omusajja oyo ("this man"), not *omusajj'oyo, because omusajja ("man") is a polysyllable.
  • In Norwegian, the apostrophe marks that a word has been contracted, such as "ha'kke" from "har ikke" (have not). Unlike English and French, such elisions are not accepted as part of standardised orthography, but is used to create a more "oral style" in writing. The apostrophe is also used to mark the genitive for words which end in an -s sound, i.e. words ending in -s, -x, and -z, some speakers also include words ending in the phoneme /ʃ/. (As Norwegian doesn't form the plural by adding an -s to the end of the word, Norwegian doesn't have the same need as English to distinguish between the -s forming the genitive and the -s forming the plural.) Usually the genitive is created by adding an -s to a word, so that "mann" (man) manns (man's). If the word already ends in an s, instead of adding in s, an apostrophe is added: los (naval pilot) los' (naval pilot's). Former US Presidents George Bush could be seen having the dual genitives Bushs and Bush'.

To separate morphemes

Some languages use the apostrophe to separate the root of a word and its affixes, especially if the root is foreign and unassimilated. (For another kind of morphemic separation see pinyin, below.)

  • In Danish an apostrophe is sometimes used to join the enclitic definite article to words of foreign origin, or to other words which would otherwise look awkward. For example, one would write IP'en to mean "the IP address". There is some variation in what is considered "awkward enough" to warrant an apostrophe; for instance, long-established words such as firma ("company") or niveau ("level") might be written firma'et and niveau'et, but will generally be seen without an apostrophe. Due to Danish influence, this usage of the apostrophe can also be seen in Norwegian, but is incorrect - a dash should be used instead: e.g. CD-en (the CD).
  • In Finnish, apostrophes are used in the declension of foreign names or loan words that end in a consonant when written but are pronounced with a vowel ending, e.g. show'ssa ("in a show"), Bordeaux'hun ("to Bordeaux"). Author and controversialist Pentti Saarikoski strenuously railed against this practice. For Finnish as well as Swedish, there is a closely related use of the colon.
  • In Estonian, apostrophes can be used in the declension of some foreign names to separate the stem from any declension endings; e.g., Monet' (genitive case) or Monet'sse (illative case) of Monet (name of the famous painter).
  • In Polish, the apostrophe is used exclusively for marking inflections of words and word-like elements (such as acronyms) whose spelling conflicts with the normal rules of inflection. This mainly affects foreign words and names. For instance, one would write Kampania Ala Gore'a for "Al Gore's campaign". In this example, Ala is spelt without an apostrophe, since its spelling and pronunciation fit into normal Polish rules; but Gore'a needs the apostrophe, because e disappears from the pronunciation, changing the inflection pattern. This rule is often misunderstood as calling for an apostrophe after all foreign words, regardless of their pronunciation, yielding Kampania Al'a Gore'a, for example. The effect is akin to the greengrocers' apostrophe (see above).
  • In Turkish, proper nouns are capitalized and an apostrophe is inserted between the noun and any following suffix, e.g. İstanbul'da ("in Istanbul"), contrasting with okulda ("in school").

As a mark of palatalization or non-palatalization

Some languages and transliteration systems use the apostrophe to mark the presence, or the lack of, palatalization.

  • In the Belarusian and Ukrainian languages, the apostrophe is used between a consonant and a following "soft" (iotified) vowel (е, ё, ю, я; Uk. є, ї, ю, я) to indicate that no palatalization of the preceding consonant takes place, and the vowel is pronounced in the same way as at the beginning of the word.
  • In Russian and some derived alphabets the same function is served by the hard sign (ъ, formerly called yer). But the apostrophe saw some use as a substitute after 1918, when Soviet authorities enforced an orthographic reform by confiscating type bearing that "letter parasite" from stubborn printing houses in Petrograd.[56]
  • In some Latin transliterations of certain variants of the Cyrillic alphabet (for Belarusian, Russian, and Ukrainian language), the apostrophe is used to replace the soft sign (ь, indicating palatalization of the preceding consonant), e.g., Русь is transliterated Rus’ according to the BGN/PCGN system. Confusingly, some of these transliteration schemes use a double apostrophe ( " ) to represent the apostrophe in Ukrainian and Belarusian text, e.g. Ukrainian слов’янське ("Slavic") is transliterated as slov"yans’ke.
  • Some Karelian orthographies use an apostrophe to indicate palatalization, e.g. n'evvuo ("to give advice"), d'uuri ("just (like)"), el'vüttiä ("to revive").

As a glottal stop

Other languages and transliteration systems use the apostrophe or some similar mark to indicate a glottal stop, sometimes considering it a letter of the alphabet:

The apostrophe represents sounds resembling the glottal stop in the Turkic languages and in romanizations of Arabic. Sometimes this function is performed by the opening single quotation mark.

Miscellaneous uses in other languages

  • In the Czech and Slovak languages, the caron over lowercase t, d, l, and uppercase L consonants resembles an apostrophe: ď, ť, ľ, Ľ. This is especially so in certain common typographic renderings. But it is incorrect to use an apostrophe instead of the caron. In Slovak, there is also l with an acute accent: ĺ, Ĺ. In both languages the apostrophe is only ever properly used to indicate elision in certain words (tys', as an abbreviated form of ty si in Slovak, or pad' for padl in Czech); however, these elisions are restricted to poetry. And the apostrophe is also used before a two-digit year number (to indicate the omission of the first two digits): '87.
  • In Finnish, one of the consonant gradation patterns is the change of a k into a hiatus, e.g. keko → keon ("a pile → a pile's"). This hiatus has to be indicated in spelling with an apostrophe if a long vowel or a diphthong would be immediately followed by the final vowel, e.g. ruoko → ruo'on, vaaka → vaa'an. (This is in contrast to compound words, where the equivalent problem is solved with a hyphen, e.g. maa-ala, "land area".) Similarly, the apostrophe is used to mark the hiatus (contraction) that occurs in poetry, e.g. miss' on for missä on ("where is").
  • In the Breton language, the combination c'h is used for the consonant /x/ (like ch in English Loch Ness), while ch is used for the consonant /ʃ/ (as in French chat or English she).
  • In Italian, an apostrophe is sometimes used as a substitute for a grave accent after a final vowel: in capitals, or when the proper form of the letter is unavailable. So Niccolò might be rendered as Niccolo', or NICCOLO'. This only applies to machine or computer writing, in the absence of a suitable keyboard.
  • In Swahili, an apostrophe after ng shows that there is no sound of /ɡ/ after the /ŋ/ sound; that is, that the ng is pronounced as in English singer, not as in English finger.
  • In Luganda, ng' (pronounced /ŋ/) is used in place of ŋ on keyboards where this character is not available. The apostrophe distinguishes it from the letter combination ng (pronounced [ŋɡ]), which has separate use in the language. Compare this with the Swahili usage above.
  • In Jèrriais, one of the uses of the apostrophe is to mark gemination, or consonant length. For example, t't represents /tː/, s's /sː/, n'n /nː/, th'th /ðː/, and ch'ch /ʃː/ (contrasted with /t/, /s/, /n/, /ð/, and /ʃ/).
  • In the pinyin (hànyǔ pīnyīn) system of romanization for Standard Mandarin (the main Chinese language, or Putonghua), an apostrophe is often loosely said to separate syllables in a word where ambiguity could arise. Example: the standard romanization for the name of the city Xī'ān includes an apostrophe to distinguish it from a single-syllable word xian. More strictly, however, it is only correct to place an apostrophe before every a, e, or o that starts a new syllable after the first, and is not preceded by a hyphen or a dash. Examples: Tiān'ānmén, Yǎ'ān; but simply Jǐnán, in which the syllables are ji and nan, since the absence of an apostrophe shows that the syllables are not jin and an (contrast Jīn'ān).[57] This is a kind of morpheme-separation marking (see above).
  • In the largely superseded Wade–Giles romanization for Standard Mandarin, an apostrophe marks aspiration of the preceding consonant sound. Example: in tsê (pinyin ze) the consonant represented by ts is unaspirated, but in ts'ê (pinyin ce) the consonant represented by ts' is aspirated.
  • In some systems of romanization for the Japanese language, the apostrophe is used between moras in ambiguous situations, to differentiate between, for example, na and n + a. (This is similar to the practice in Pinyin mentioned above.)
  • In Hebrew, the apostrophe is adjacent to letters to show sounds that are not represented in the Hebrew alphabet. Sounds such as j, th, and ch are indicated using ג, ת, and צ with an apostrophe (also called a geresh, or informally "chupchik"). For example, the name George is spelled ג׳ורג׳ in Hebrew (with 'ג representing the first and last syllables).
  • In the new Uzbek Latin alphabet adopted in 2000, the apostrophe serves as a diacritical mark to distinguish different phonemes written with the same letter: it differentiates o' (corresponding to Cyrillic ў) from o, and g' (Cyrillic ғ) from g. This avoids the use of special characters, allowing Uzbek to be typed with ease in ordinary ASCII on any Latin keyboard. In addition, a postvocalic apostrophe in Uzbek represents the glottal stop phoneme derived from Arabic hamzah or ‘ayn, replacing Cyrillic ъ.
  • In English Yorkshire dialect, the apostrophe is used to represent the word the, which is contracted to a more glottal (or "unreleased") /t/ sound. Most users will write in t'barn ("in the barn"), on t'step ("on the step"); and those unfamiliar with Yorkshire speech will often make these sound like intuh barn and ontuh step. A more accurate rendition might be in't barn and on't step, though even this does not truly convey correct Yorkshire pronunciation as the t is more like a glottal stop.
  • Galician restaurants in Madrid in Páginas Amarillas sometimes use O' in their names instead of the standard article O ("The").[58]

Typographic form

The form of the apostrophe originates in manuscript writing, as a point with a downwards tail curving clockwise. This form was inherited by the typographic (or typeset) apostrophe (  ), also called the curly apostrophe. Later sans-serif typefaces had stylized apostrophes with a more geometric or simplified form, but usually retaining the same directional bias as a closing quotation mark.

With the invention of the typewriter, a "neutral" quotation mark form ( ' ) was created to economize on the keyboard, by using a single key to represent the apostrophe, both opening and closing single quotation marks, and single primes. This is known as the typewriter apostrophe or vertical apostrophe.

Computing

Although ubiquitous in typeset material, the typographic apostrophe (  ) is rather difficult to enter on a computer since it does not have its own key on a standard keyboard. Outside the world of professional typesetting and graphic design, many people do not know how to enter this character and instead use the typewriter apostrophe ( ' ). However, because typewriter apostrophes are now often automatically converted to typographic apostrophes by wordprocessing and desktop-publishing software (see below), the typographic apostrophe does often appear in documents produced by non-professionals.

The typewriter apostrophe has always been considered tolerable on Web pages because of the egalitarian nature of Web publishing and the low resolution of computer monitors in comparison to print. More recently, the correct use of the typographic apostrophe is becoming more common on the Web due to the wide adoption of the Unicode text encoding standard, near-universal Web-browser support, higher-resolution displays, and advanced anti-aliasing of text in modern operating systems. With the spread of Unicode support in computer operating systems and Internet software, the typographic apostrophe can be used nearly anywhere. Nevertheless, the tradition of using the typewriter apostrophe continues in most situations.

How to enter typographic quotation marks and apostrophes on a computer
  Macintosh keyboard Windows keyboard Linux keyboard
Single opening    Option + ] Hold Alt while typing 0145 on the number pad AltGr+shift+V
Single closing (apostrophe)    Option + Shift + ] Hold Alt while typing 0146 on the number pad AltGr + shift + B
Double opening    Option + [ Hold Alt while typing 0147 on the number pad AltGr + V
Double closing    Option + Shift + [ Hold Alt while typing 0148 on the number pad AltGr + B

Smart quotes

To make typographic apostrophes easier to enter, wordprocessing and publishing software often converts typewriter apostrophes to typographic apostrophes during text entry (at the same time converting opening and closing single and double quotes to their correct left-handed or right-handed forms). A similar facility may be offered on web servers after submitting text in a form field, e.g. on weblogs or free encyclopedias. This is known as the smart quotes feature; apostrophes and quotation marks that are not automatically altered by computer programs are known as dumb quotes.

Such conversion is not always done in accordance with the standards for character sets and encodings. Additionally, many such software programs incorrectly convert a leading apostrophe to an opening quotation mark (e.g., in abbreviations of years: 29 rather than the correct 29 for the year 2029; or twas instead of twas as the archaic abbreviation of it was. A quick way to get the correct result in Microsoft Word is to type two apostrophes (sometimes using a space as well, as required), and then delete the first. A quicker way is to hold down the Control key while typing the two apostrophes: only a single typographic apostrophe will appear even if it is positioned as a leading apostrophe. Smart quote features also often fail to recognise situations when a prime rather than an apostrophe is needed; for example, incorrectly rendering the latitude 49° 53′ 08″ as 49° 53 08.

In Microsoft Word it is possible to turn smart quotes off (in some versions, by navigating through Tools, AutoCorrect, AutoFormat as you type, and then checking the appropriate option). Alternatively, typing CONTROL-Z (for Undo) immediately after entering the apostrophe will convert it back to a straight apostrophe.

Typewriter apostrophe and ASCII encoding

The typewriter apostrophe ( ' ) was inherited by computer keyboards, and is the only apostrophe character available in the (7-bit) ASCII character encoding, which is the original basis for the computer representation of the Latin alphabet.

As such, it is a highly overloaded character. In ASCII, it represents a right single quotation mark, left single quotation mark, apostrophe, vertical line or prime (punctuation marks), or an apostrophe modifier or acute accent (modifier letters). (The separate ASCII grave accent ( ` ), intended as a modifier and assigned its own key on many keyboards, has sometimes found a non-standard role as a single opening quote.)

Typographic apostrophe and 8-bit encodings

Support for the typographic apostrophe (  ) was introduced in a variety of 8-bit character encodings, such as the Apple Macintosh operating system's Mac Roman character set (in 1984), and later in the CP1252 encoding of Microsoft Windows.

Older 8-bit character encodings, like Windows CP1252, Mac Roman or ISO-8859-1, universally support the typewriter quote in the same position, 39, inherited from ASCII (as does Unicode; see below). However, most of them place the typographic apostrophe in different positions. In ISO-8859-1, a common encoding for web pages, ’ is the correct character.

Microsoft Windows CP1252 (sometimes incorrectly called ANSI or ISO-Latin) is a duplicate of ISO-8859-1, with 27 additional characters in the place of control characters (in the range from 128 to 159). Microsoft software usually treats ISO-8859-1 as if it were CP1252. The wide adoption of Microsoft's web browser and web server has forced many other software makers to adopt this as a de facto convention – in some cases contravening established standards unnecessarily (e.g., some applications use CP1252 character values in HTML numeric references, where Unicode values are required, and would be sufficient for interoperation with MS software). Consequently, the typographic apostrophe and several other characters are handled inconsistently by web browsers and other software, and can cause interoperation problems.

Unicode

There are several types of apostrophe character in Unicode:

  • ' ) Vertical typewriter apostrophe (Unicode name apostrophe or apostrophe-quote), U+0027, inherited from ASCII.
  •  ) Punctuation apostrophe (or right single quotation mark; single comma quotation mark), U+2019. Serves as both an apostrophe and closing single quotation mark. This is the preferred character to use for apostrophe according to the Unicode standard.[59]
  • ʼ ) Letter apostrophe (or modifier letter apostrophe), U+02BC. This is preferred when the apostrophe is not considered punctuation which separates letters, but a letter in its own right. Examples occur in Breton cʼh, the Cyrillic Azerbaijani alphabet, or in some transliterations such as the transliterated Arabic glottal stop, hamza, or transliterated Cyrillic soft sign. (The Hawaiian glottal stop, the ʻokina, has its own Unicode character at U+02BB.) As the letter apostrophe is seldom used in practice, the Unicode standard cautions that one should never assume text is coded thus. The letter apostrophe is rendered identically to the punctuation apostrophe in the Unicode code charts.[60]

Nenets has single and double letter apostrophes:

  • ˮ ) Double letter apostrophe (Unicode name modifier letter double apostrophe), U+02EE.

In Armenian language:

  •  ՚  ) Armenian apostrophe (Unicode name Armenian apostrophe), U+055A.

See also

References

  1. ^ “The English form apostrophe is due to its adoption via French and its current pronunciation as four syllables is due to a confusion with the rhetorical device apostrophé” (W. S. Allen, Vox Graeca. The pronunciation of classical Greek, 3rd edition, 1988. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, p. 100, note 13).
  2. ^ See OED, “Apostrophe2.
  3. ^ Chicago Manual of Style, 5.27; New Hart's Rules, §4.2, p. 64; Gregg Reference Manual, §642.
  4. ^ Pease as an old plural of pea is indeterminate: Lentils' and pease'[s] use in such dishes was optional. Nouns borrowed from French ending in -eau, -eu, -au, or -ou sometimes have alternative plurals that retain the French -x: beaux or beaus; bureaux or bureaus; adieux or adieus; fabliaux or fabliaus; choux or chous. The x in these plurals is often pronounced. If it is, then in the absence of specific rulings from style guides the plural possessives are formed with an apostrophe alone: the beaux' [or beaus'] appearance at the ball; the bureaux' [or bureaus'] responses differed. If the x is not pronounced, then in the absence of special rulings the plurals are formed with an apostrophe followed by an s: the beaux's appearance; the bureaux's responses; their adieux's effect was that everyone wept. See also Nouns ending with silent “s”, “x”, or “z”, below, and attached notes.
  5. ^ Style Guide, US Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics; The United States Government Printing Office Style Manual 2000; Chicago Manual of Style (CMOS), 5.25: “The possessive of a multiword compound noun is formed by adding the appropriate ending to the last word {parents-in-law’s message}.”
  6. ^ CMOS, 7.25: “If plural compounds pose problems, opt for of. ... the professions of both my daughters-in-law.”
  7. ^ Is the English Possessive 's Truly a Right-Hand Phenomenon?
  8. ^ This example is quoted from www.abc.net.au; see Chicago Manual of Style, 7.18.
  9. ^ This example is quoted from The Gregg Reference Manual, 10th edition, 2005, paragraph 641.
  10. ^ This is normal despite the fact that the single word hers is spelled without an apostrophe, see below in this section; His 'n' Hers's first track is theoretically possible, but unlikely unless an extra sibilant is actually pronounced after Hers.
  11. ^ Most sources are against continuing the italics used in such titles to the apostrophe and the s.
  12. ^ See for example New Hart's Rules. Not one of the other sources listed on this page supports the use of it's as a possessive form of it.
  13. ^ Courier Mail, Little things that matter
  14. ^ MLA Style Manual, 2nd edition, 1998, 3.4.7e: “To form the possessive of any singular proper noun, add an apostrophe and an s”; The Economist's Style Guide; The Elements of Style makes the same rule, with only sketchily presented exceptions.
  15. ^ Chicago Manual of Style's text: 7.23 An alternative practice. Those uncomfortable with the rules, exceptions, and options outlined above may prefer the system, formerly more common, of simply omitting the possessive s on all words ending in s – hence “Dylan Thomas' poetry,” “Maria Callas' singing,” and “that business' main concern.” Though easy to apply, that usage disregards pronunciation and thus seems unnatural to many.
  16. ^ Possessives and Attributives, The Chicago Manual of Style Online.
  17. ^ The Guardian's Style Guide.
  18. ^ Emory University's Writing Center's “Use of the Apostrophe”.
  19. ^ The American Heritage Book of English Usage. 8. Word Formation b. Forming Possessives.
  20. ^ The Times Online Style Guide.
  21. ^ Vanderbilt University's Style Guide.
  22. ^ "DummiesWorld Wide Words". http://www.worldwidewords.org/qa/qa-app2.htm. Retrieved 2007-03-13. . Chicago Manual of Style, 7.22: “For...sake expressions traditionally omit the s when the noun ends in an s or an s sound.” Oxford Style Manual, 5.2.1: “Use an apostrophe alone after singular nouns ending in an s or z sound and combined with sake: for goodness' sake”.
  23. ^ “Practice varies widely in for conscience' sake and for goodness' sake, and the use of an apostrophe in them must be regarded as optional” The New Fowler's Modern English Usage, ed. Burchfield, RW, 3rd edition, 1996, entry for “sake”, p. 686.
  24. ^ In February 2007 Arkansas historian Parker Westbrook successfully petitioned State Representative Steve Harrelson to settle once and for all that the correct possessive should not be Arkansas' but Arkansas's (Arkansas House to argue over apostrophes). Arkansas's Apostrophe Act came into law in March 2007 (ABC News [USA], 6 March 2007).
  25. ^ An apparent exception is The Complete Stylist, Sheridan Baker, 2nd edition 1972, p. 165: “...citizens' rights, the Joneses' possessions, and similarly The Beaux' Stratagem.” But in fact the x in beaux, as in other such plurals in English, is often already pronounced (see a note to Basic rule (plural nouns), above); The Beaux Stratagem, the title of a play by George Farquhar (1707), originally lacked the apostrophe (see the title page of a 1752 edition); and it is complicated by the following s in stratagem. Some modern editions add the apostrophe (some with an s also), some omit it; and some make a compound with a hyphen: The Beaux-Stratagem. Farquhar himself used the apostrophe elsewhere in the standard ways, for both omission and possession.
  26. ^ Jacqueline Letzter, Intellectual Tacking: Questions of Education in the Works of Isabelle de Charrière, Rodopi, 1998, p. 123.
  27. ^ Elizabeth A. McAlister, Rara!: Vodou, Power, and Performance in Haiti and Its Diaspora, University of California Press, 2002, p. 196.
  28. ^ U.S. Board on Geographic Names: FAQs; “How the Past Affects the Future: the Story of the Apostrophe”, Cavella, C, and Kernodle, RA
  29. ^ St James's Church Piccadilly website
  30. ^ “The apostrophe has been dropped from most Australian place-names and street names: Connells Point; Wilsons Promontory; Browns Lane.” The Penguin Working Words: an Australian Guide to Modern English Usage, Penguin, 1993, p. 41.
  31. ^ The Cambridge Guide to English Usage, Ed. Peters, P, 2004, p. 43.
  32. ^ International Aviation Women's Association
  33. ^ Spelled both with and without the apostrophe at the court's own home page; but spelled with the apostrophe in Victorian legislation, such as Magistrates' Court Act, 1989.
  34. ^ Gregg Reference Manual, 10th edition, 2003, distinguishes between what it calls possessive and descriptive forms, and uses this distinction in analysing the problem. From paragraph 628: “a. Do not mistake a descriptive form ending in s for a possessive form[:] sales effort (sales describes the kind of effort)... b. Some cases can be difficult to distinguish. Is it the girls basketball team or the girls' basketball team? Try substituting an irregular plural like women. You wouldn't say the women basketball team; you would say the women's basketball team. By analogy, the girls' basketball team is correct” [italics given exactly as in original, including following punctuation]. And then this principle is applied to organizations at paragraph 640, where examples are given, including the non-conforming Childrens Hospital, (in Los Angeles): “The names of many organizations, products, and publications contain words that could be considered either possessive or descriptive terms... c. In all cases follow the organization's preference when known.”
  35. ^ Apostrophe Protection Society's website.
  36. ^ Times Online: Harrods told to put its apostrophe back.
  37. ^ In reports of very informal speech 's may sometimes represent does: "Where's that come from?"
  38. ^ SOED gives fo'c's'le as the only shortened form of forecastle, though others are shown in OED. SOED gives bo's'n as one spelling of bosun, itself a variant of boatswain.
  39. ^ a b c "Purdue University Online Writing Lab: The Apostrophe". http://owl.english.purdue.edu/handouts/grammar/g_apost.html. Retrieved 2007-03-13. 
  40. ^ Guide to Punctuation, Larry Trask, University of Sussex: "American usage, however, does put an apostrophe here: (A) This research was carried out in the 1970's."
  41. ^ AskOxford.com
  42. ^ "In praise of apostrophes", BBC News, 5 October 2001
  43. ^ 'Fatal floors' in exam scripts, BBC News, 3 November 2004
  44. ^ Half of Britons struggle with the apostrophe, The Daily Telegraph, 11 November 2008
  45. ^ Truss, Lynn. Eats, Shoots & Leaves. pp. 63–65.
  46. ^ Christina Cavella and Robin A. Kernodle (PDF). How the Past Affects the Future: The Story of the Apostrophe. American University. http://www.american.edu/tesol/wpkernodlecavella.pdf. Retrieved 2006-10-26. 
  47. ^ Burrough-Boenisch, Joy (2004), "Dutch Greengrocers", Righting English That's Gone Dutch (2nd ed.), Kemper Conseil Publishing, ISBN 9789076542089 
  48. ^ Titan Go King's, at nippop.com.
  49. ^ Bill Bryson, "Troublesome Words," Penguin, second edition 1987, p. 177
  50. ^ W. W. Norton & Company
  51. ^ The apostrophe
  52. ^ Eats, Shoots & Leaves.
  53. ^ Fernandez, Colin, 'Punctuation hero' branded a vandal for painting apostrophes on street signs, The Daily Mail, accessed 19/08/2009
  54. ^ Afrikaanse Woordelys en Spelreëls (9th ed.). Cape Town, South Africa: Pharos Woordeboeke. 2002. ISBN 1 86890 034 7. http://www.nb.co.za/product/afrikaanse-woordelys-en-spelre-ls----de-uitgawe/7390/. 
  55. ^ In early French such elisions did occur: m'espée (ma +espée, modern French mon épée: "my sword"), s'enfance (sa +enfance, son enfance: "his or her childhood"). But the only modern survivals of this elision with apostrophe are m'amie and m'amour, as archaic and idiomatic alternatives to mon amie and mon amour ("my [female] friend", "my love"); forms without the apostrophe also used: mamie or ma mie, mamour.
  56. ^ ГТРК - Владимир :: Главная (Russian)
  57. ^ Pinyin
  58. ^ restaurants with an 'o' in their names in Madrid.
  59. ^ The Unicode Consortium
  60. ^ Unicode code charts

Further reading

External links


Wiktionary

Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

The Universal Character Set
Unicode name APOSTROPHE
Basic Latin U+0027
See also -'

Contents

Translingual

Symbol

'

  1. (apostrophe)
  2. or (both the opening and closing single quotation marks)
  3. ˈ (IPA primary stress)
  4. ׳ (Hebrew geresh)
  5. ʻ (Hawaiian okina).
  6. (mathematics) (prime symbol)

Related terms

Punctuation

( ( ) ) ( [ ] ) ( { } ) ( )

See also








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