Tuesday, February 17, 2009

A is for Apostrophe

Well, it's been over seven months since I last delved into the dictionary to dig up some tasty morsels (the word "delve" derives from a word meaning "dig," don't you know?), so perhaps it's appropriate that my first letter back represents a gap, something missing.
Although its (not it's) usage is very straightforward, it is (it's) one of the most misused marks of punctuation in the English language. There are some very entertaining web sites on the Internet concerning apostrophe usage.
There are two primary definitions of the word "apostrophe." The first is the aforementioned diacritical one to signify a gap, something missing, i.e. missing letters. It can also be used to show possession or form plurals.
The second definition of apostrophe is a rhetorical device in which an absent person or personified object is addressed. For example, "O death, where is your sting? O death, where is your victory?" or "Death, be not proud, though some have called thee / Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so" or "O Captain, my Captain" or "O Apostrophe, half a Quote, and yet so much less!"
The etymology of the word "apostrophe" is from Greek through Latin, literally "the act of turning away."
Here's the link to the dictionary definition:

1 comment:

Bonnie said...

A very interesting post !! Very interesting indeed !! Loved it !!