been searching for a while now so: When omitting parts of words with an apostrophe, do it have to be enclosed by the word?

A good example that helped me answer a few of my own questions was: Using apostrophe when abbreviating "recommendations" as "reco's". Let me use that as an example: Can I simply write ''recommendations'' as reco' and not enclose it like reco's. Similar examples would be, from Wikipedia, spelling fo’c’s’le, contracted from the nautical term forecastle, can I simply spell it forecas' then move on in the sentence? Doesn't that also cause the word to be possessive, because of the S?

Is there any rule to this or can I also do it with any-thing, like:

Have you seen my guitar amp'

or (amplifier)

Have you seen my guitar amp'r

What about simpler words, spyin' or shootin' and so on?

  • The use of non-standard spelling does not, per definition, have rules. If you are writing fiction, you choose a style and use it consistently. I recommend to use it with caution as it is likely to irritate your readers.
    – Stefan
    Commented Sep 29, 2017 at 5:09
  • The apostrophe is supposed to replace the omitted letters. Fo'c's'le is the standard way of writing the nautical contraction, so why should you need to invent your own version? Forecas' suggests a mispronunciation of forecast, like shootin' which is a standard way of representing a particular speech habit, not an abbreviation. Also, the answer in the link you quote suggests not using an apostrophe with familiar abbreviations like phone. I would suggest that amp falls into that category. Commented Sep 29, 2017 at 8:27
  • @Stefan Though I agree with the rest of your comment "non-standard" does not mean (by definition) that there are no rules for it. It's perfectly possible for a rule to exist which focuses solely on an uncommon (non-standard) spelling. Trikes are non-standard motorbikes, but that doesn't mean that trikes are unregulated.
    – Flater
    Commented Sep 29, 2017 at 8:48
  • 1
    I would understand amp as short form of amplifier in any context, but amp'r would throw me off totally.
    – Ian
    Commented Sep 29, 2017 at 11:27
  • Sorry, AJ; if you’re trying to use reco’s then, by definition, you’re insisting the choice in abbreviations be changed. Those who insist reco works might be able to explain their rules. Most of us know there is no standard abbreviation for recommendation; if there were it would prolly be rec(c)s, with no apostrophe. If you want to insist, what d’you think the basic rules of apostrophes say, please? There’s no question of anything being omitted. If it doesn’t belong there, that’s all. If it does, it should be included; no kind of omission. Commented Sep 29, 2017 at 23:11


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