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The Apostrophe


Proper Use of the Apostrophe to Show Omission of Letters (Contractions)

In contractions , the apostrophe is used to show the omission of one or more letters.

Examples:

• 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 pronouns.

Examples:

• 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.

Note:
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stands for "on the clock", an outdated expression.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.

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