English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Is there a term for the single letter contractions as used in the following examples?

Toys 'r' us
Stop 'n' go

Note: Trademarks above corrected for proper grammar.

share|improve this question
up vote 3 down vote accepted

’n’ is a conjunction with a listed definition of “and” given in various dictionaries, such as Merriam-Webster and Random House.

The letter R in the name Toys “R” Us is given with double quotation marks (not apostrophes) on their web site. Their logo uses a backwards-facing letter R. Presumably the “misspelling” of the word are combined with reversed letter is intended to make it seem as though a child produced the logo. Misspelling homophones (the letter R and the word are are both pronounced the same) and producing letters which are a mirror image of the correct letter are common errors of children who are just learning to write.

The first example I can comfortably just describe as a contraction. The Random House dictionary calls it a “Pronunciation Spelling”. The R in Toys “R” Us is not really the same thing and is better described as an intentional error.

share|improve this answer
I'd say that using wacky spellings is mostly a way to be able to make a trademark out of what is otherwise just a three word expression. – Benjol Aug 16 '10 at 5:35

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.