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Proper Use of the Apostrophe to Show Omission of Letters
In contractions, the apostrophe is used to show the
omission of one or more letters.
Don't = do not
I'm = I am
He's = he is
Let's = let us
We've = we have
They're = they are
Aren't = are not
Weren't = were not
Again, be careful not to confuse contractions with possessive
Incorrect: The team gathered it's equipment
and boarded the bus.
Correct: The team gathered its equipment and
boarded the bus.
Contractions also may be used to omit letters or numbers
at the beginning of words or dates:
'90s = 1990s
'cause = because (slang; not proper in most writing)
Electing to use a contraction versus the full form of the
words depends on the audience and the context of the writing.
In most formal settings (including business settings), it
is better to use the full form of the words, while in a familiar
setting, the contractions may be used.
O'clock stands for "on the clock", an outdated expression.
When expressing time, no matter what the setting always use
the contracted form, "o'clock", and not the full form.