Omission of letters

Use an apostrophe to signal the omission of a letter or series of letters in words of contraction.

did not = didn't
of the clock = o'clock
Bits and Pieces = Bits 'n' Pieces
It was the night = 'Twas the night

Forming plurals

Use an apostrophe to form the plural of letters, figures, or words referred to as words only if confusing or awkward plural formations would result. When no confusion would result, do not use the apostrophe.

He's a tough judge, so you'd better watch your p's and q's.
Your editorial has too many you know's in it.
Our treasurer makes his 9's look like 4's.
Many of the quartets from the 1940s took less liberty with song interpretation than quartets from the 1990s.

Omission of numerals

Occasionally, an apostrophe may be used to mark the omission of numerals when writing dates in situations involving names, titles, or slogans.

the Roaring '20s
the Spirit of '76
We're singin' more in '94

Do not shorten a date when it is used simply to refer to a particular yearly date.

I attended Harmony College in 1994.


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