Jumat, 05 Juni 2009

Apostrophe: Little Thing with Great Meaning

Apostrophe (‘) is short for apostrophos prosoidia (‘the turning-away accent’). It is very little thing. This kind of thing is hardly eye catching. You can even ignore it when you are reading English material. Although it is so tinny, it plays considerable role. The most popular use of apostrophe is when we are talking about ownership or possession.

In English, apostrophe has two main uses. First, to mark the omission or elision of letters and sounds. Omitted characters can be found in contractions and abbreviations. It is used in contractions, as didn’t for did not, it’s for it is or it has, and we’ll for we will or we shall. It is also used in abbreviations, as gov’t for government, ‘90s for 1990s, and fo’c’sle for forcastle.

Second, to mark possession in nouns. Singular nouns add ‘s, as in Reni’s books, Barry’s house, my father’s car. Plural nouns have s’, as in my parents’ job, my friends’ hobbies. If a plural noun doesn’t end in s, an apostrophe s is added, as in the children’s toys. Apostrophe isn’t used in possessive pronouns and adjectives, such as yours, his, hers, ours, its, theirs, and whose.

In addition, aphostrophe can be used to indicate a plural form, especially in abbreviation, as in V.I.P’s (sort of Very Important Persons) and S.M.S’s (sort for Short Message Services).

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