All right, all right, I admit that I've been merciless in my defense of the poor overused apostrophe. The truth is that I love the little squiggly darlings. I can't stand to see them forced into uncomfortable and ill-fitting places. Nobody wants to look like an idiot, not even an apostrophe.

 

How 'bout some fun uses for 'em? Now, right there was a demonstration of one of the more delightful ways in which apostrophes get to play in the sandbox. They become stand-ins - actors and actresses, if you will.

 

In the same way that an apostrophe is used in a contraction: didn't, isn't, I've - - an apostrophe can be used to replace a letter or two when typing in a more conversational tone. Substituting an apostrophe for one or more letters sorta kinda puts a written passage into a more relaxed feel, sometimes for a casual tone and sometimes to mimic a regional or cultural dialect.

 

Them boys was just a funnin' -- or

 

Sure as 'twas daylight, the blarney was flowin' -- or

 

I'm'a tell'a you once, an'a only once! -- or

 

. . . by my reck'n'n, it's comin' on suppa' time.

 

Go ahead, have fun with those apostrophes that have now been freed from hazardous duty making plurals and changing verbs.

 

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