What sources are there about rules for such contractions in American English when the first sound of the word isn’t pronounced.

There’s an apostrophe or something like this instead.

F/e, the Chicago Manual of Style mentions a certain Webster’s list.

  • 1
    Can you provide an example?
    – mRotten
    Nov 15, 2018 at 19:08
  • 1
    'Merica being the most relevant one
    – K Dog
    Nov 15, 2018 at 19:30
  • 1
    'Possum is another good example. Nov 15, 2018 at 20:03
  • 2
    Requests for sources of information are off topic. This should be moved to the meta site. Nov 15, 2018 at 20:08
  • If you asked instead, "what are the rules for pronouncing words that start with an apostrophe?" or something like that, it might make an OK question for this site. Nov 15, 2018 at 23:47

2 Answers 2


Used in forms like 'Merica for America or 'Em for Them, these are slang, colloquialisms and/or patois that differ by definition from standard language usage. Therefore I would try the Urban Dictionary or Green's Dictionary of Slang


It is a case of the broader phenomenon called Elision.

In some languages employing the Latin alphabet, such as English, the omitted letters in a contraction are replaced by an apostrophe (e.g., isn't for is not).

Included in the list Examples of elision in English:

Word     IPA before elision     IPA after elision
  him                /hɪm/                       /ɪm/

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

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