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In my new book, the main character's name is Stacey. Her brother, Toby, is unable to pronounce her whole name and calls her "acey". When writing her name in his speech, I would use an apostrophe to show that the letters 'st' are missing. The question is whether to then use a capital 'a' or not... 'acey or 'Acey?

I am tempted to use 'acey because the apostrophe shows that the capital letter 'S' is missing. I believe that the rule would be the same as a missing 'H' in 'enry - which I think would be correct.

  • How could it signify that something is "missing" at the front if it begins with a capital letter? Beats me. – Kris Feb 1 at 9:28
  • My cousin's 'proper' name (what is written on her birth certificate) is Evelyn, but every one calls her Lyn, and that's how they write it, with no apostrophe. – Michael Harvey Feb 1 at 9:33
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    Richard, I would drop the idea of an initial apostrophe. It isn't 1890, and we don't write 'bus for omnibus, 'phone for telephone, or 'cab for taxicab any more, and, as I mentioned about my cousin, for shortenings of a registered name we just capitalise the shortened version, e.g. Lina for Evangelina, Beth for Elizabeth, or my pal Gus who was named Augustus at birth. – Michael Harvey Feb 1 at 9:51
  • Thanks Michael Harvey, for your input. I should stress that it's not a nickname he has given her - it's his pronunciation. Hence the apostrophe. I'm aware that it's not 1890! I want to show that he can't pronounce her name. – Richard Dodd Feb 1 at 12:24
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Both forms can be found. For example Ivory Tower and Harry Potter: Perspectives on a Literary Phenomenon and In The Stars Part II: Cancer–Sagittarius refer to "'Arry Potter" and "'arry Potter" respectively.

Capitalising seems to be the more common approach, and nicely resolves the question of what to do it the name is also the first word of a sentence.

If Acey is used so much as to become a nickname, I'd strongly recommend not using an apostrophe, as quite old-fashioned. If you want to emphasises the elision though, it may help to use it.

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