What is the semantic difference between apostrophe and single quote?
I see people use both of them interchangeably, but people never create two words to denote one concept. There should be a difference.
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An easy way to differentiate:
An apostrophe is only used within or at the very end of a word - it is part of the word.
In English, it serves three purposes:
- The marking of the omission of one or more letters (as in the contraction of do not to don't).
- The marking of possessive case (as in the cat's whiskers).
- The marking as plural of written items that are not words established in English orthography (as in P's and Q's, the late 1950's). (This is considered incorrect by some; see Use in forming certain plurals. The use of the apostrophe to form plurals of proper words, as in apple's, banana's, etc., is universally considered incorrect.)
Single quotes are only used around words - they come in pairs, and are not part of any word.
Single or double quotation marks denote either speech or a quotation.
You asked about the semantic difference, but there is also a technical difference - ASCII and typewriter keyboards do not have a 'single quote' character, only QUOTATION MARK (U+0022) and APOSTROPHE (U+0027). So people typing on traditional mechanical and computer keyboards use apostrophes both within and around words.
Some editor applications have context-sensitive "smart quotes" that substitutes typesetting characters when an ASCII character is typed:
And to make things more confusing, such applications may also substitute a right single quotation mark for an apostrophe even within words.
The apostrophe's proper useage denotes possessive form or missing letters/numbers.
The 'Single Quote' is to denote a quote within a quote. Also, often used for emphasis.
Apostrophes are utilized to denote possessive form of a noun and/or the missing letters/numbers when:
contracting multiple words
shortening a single word or date
Apostrophes may occur before within and rarely at the end.
There isn't, to my knowledge, a use of apostrophes to denote a plural noun.
Still, can't say for sure there isn`t though a plural word place it at the end & not between its letters.
End of the Word:
Others' background, training, and education may know more.
Most common use is to show nouns' plural and possessive form.
Also, ye' see ta' use of apostros' for slang 'nd da' speakers'wi't accent.
Beginning of the Word:
Since `67, seen primarily at beginning of dates.
'et da' be th't slang usage ta' think of.
Pronouns, acronyms and certain words denote possession without the apostrophes.
It's = contraction of 'It is'
Its = possessive form of 'It'
A 'Single Quote'is used for quotes within a quote. The off label usage is for emphasis when italics, bold, and underlining isn't enough.
Quotes within a quote:
Our English/Pshycology professor claimed, "The author states 'Word Processer's use of Smart Apostrophes are leading to the demise of the apostrophe by converting any at the start and end of a word to the angle quote.' which clearly shows ludite tendencies in the author's subconscious."
Using 'single apostrophes' to call out a teen or phrase may be more common than for quote with a quote.
SMS before 'smart phones' added emojis led to many special characters being used to emphasize the nuances lost with text.
The post saw most apostrophes, (except with `67), as a 'code command'. This meant they where hidden and changed the font after the apostrophes.
Except for `67' all apostrophes where switched for 'single quotes'. I may have missed a couple.
Thanks for reaching the end.