Apostrophe of Omission

A principal function of the apostrophe (’) is to denote the omission of letters or numbers in contractions. Make sure that the apostrophe is in the appropriate location, and consult the dictionary when necessary. Merriam-Webster’s lists many contractions and their variants. When an apostrophe begins a word—like ’em or ’twas—make sure that you’re using an apostrophe, not a left single quotation mark (‘).

A few examples:
  • rock ’n’ roll (rock and roll)
  • weren’t (were not)
  • don’t (do not)
  • ’97 (1997 or 1897 or 1797 . . .)
  • he’s (he is)