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You can write

this ol' man 'ere

when you mean

this old man here

But can the ' be used to indicate whole missing sentence parts?

For example:

'been a pleasure!

for

It's been a pleasure!

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4  
I really would have loved to answer this question with a single quote character. :) –  JeffSahol Sep 22 '11 at 16:58
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4 Answers

up vote 3 down vote accepted

The apostrophe is used to show a contraction. For example, "don't" is really "do not". However as Purdue OWL writes, they are only for the omission of letters within a short phrase. Do not use them for the exclusion of entire words; that is not a function of an apostrophe.

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I would say no...the apostrophe is generally being used to indicate a missing sound or letter, not an entire word. Strictly speaking:

Been a pleasure!

Is not grammatically correct, but it would be fine for dialog, and it's perfectly clear what the speaker means. If anything, an apostrophe will only muddy the waters.

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I don't think so. Apostrophe does not let you abbreviate the words - it indicates that the speaker dropped the sound or two while talking. When part of the sentence was omitted, it is not indicated in any way. In your example Been a pleasure would be a correct way to write it down.

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"It" has. I don't think that really clears it up any. –  Chris B. Behrens Sep 22 '11 at 14:52
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It all depends. In representing speech it might well be effective to write:

'Spose so.

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Which is Suppose so. Apostrophe here does not indicate I, but dropping the u sound. –  Philoto Sep 22 '11 at 15:28
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