Apostrophe

dictionary with letter A

Apostrophe (n.): a punctuation mark (‘) used to indicate either possession or the omission of letters or numbers.

It is a very good question. Are shortcuts in life an expression of laziness, or a desire to simplify before we end up being conquered?

Because honestly, I have taken some shortcuts which certainly ended up at dead ends, and have often found myself taking the long way home, only to be mocked by those who use a better GPS.

You see, the apostrophe already had a job. It was being used to prove that we own something. It was a clerical title-deed, to be presented to the reader, to establish the authenticity of our rights.

But them someone said, “There ought to be another job for this little marking. After all, the formal nature of using words like ‘is’ and ‘are’ over and over again is extremely tedious. So maybe if we leave out one of the letters, and stick in the apostrophe, which is already hanging around, we could come across as more relaxed, if not hip.”

I don’t know if someone experimented with this once in writing a document, or even when it started. For instance, I don’t see any apostrophes in the Declaration of Independence. It remains rather “verbal.”

Yet as a writer, I am often encouraged to shorten words with apostrophes so as not to appear to be a stick in the mud. Why is that?

(Or perhaps better phrased, why’s that?)

I think we do a disservice to ourselves when we merely accept the radical concepts of the previous generation as common doings in our own time simply because they survived the rigors of scrutiny.

So for me, there are occasions when I think clarity demands the addition of the full use of the little verbs … instead of sticking in a comma dangling in midair.

 

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Thank you for enjoying Words from Dic(tionary) —  J.R. Practix

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