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The spoken use of "night" as an informal, familiar version of "good night" (wishing one a restful sleep) is common, but I'm not sure what the proper written equivalent is - if there is one. I have always used 'Night with an apostrophe, usually capitalized:

'Night, Caroline!

Is any form of "night" for "good night" (with or without an apostrophe) correct as used in my example? I read a lot of Walt Kelly growing up so that may be why I use it.

I don't see a reason to use the apostrophe, as I'm not using "G'Night", with or without capitalization.

Are there different rules when conveying informal speech in writing?

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    I might use the apostrophe to make it clear the person is saying 'Night rather than, for whatever reason Night. Dec 29, 2016 at 3:57
  • Yes, it's an acceptable variant. So is Nite, at least on email. Dec 29, 2016 at 4:25
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    You may be interested to know that Marsha Norman wrote a very successful play titled 'night Mother in 1982.
    – Sven Yargs
    Dec 29, 2016 at 5:46

3 Answers 3

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It is certainly informal but you could appeal to perceived gradations of formality along the progression from Good night. to G'night. (contraction) to simply, Night. (elide the 'g' sound). The final case being in the same form as saying Later. for See you later., if one is acceptable, the other should be as well.

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You can use an apostrophe, but it's not necessary. OED lists both night and 'night:

‘Good-night. I'm goin' to roost.’ ‘Night, Dave.’
(1912) Being the Story of What Happened When Buck Peters, Hopalong Cassidy, and Their Bar-20 Associates Went to Montana

‘'Night.’ ‘'Night.’ It was cold in the bedroom.
(1992) Come the Executioner


And Urban Dictionary lists both nite and 'nite. While these forms are really informal, you can sometimes find them in books, such as this one or this one.

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I think it depends on the context, as others have alluded to. "Good night, sweetheart", he said, looking deeply into her eyes, sounds much better than "night, y'all", he said to the family. Or, using it twice, as in "night, night, son" as his boy wended his weary way to bed. So, yes, I think context is the determinant.

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