The Apostrophe : Omission…

Apostrophes are used to show that some letters have been missed out. This usually happens when two words are run together to make a single word.

This is called a contraction and happens quite a lot – particularly in spoken English. This being the case, students will find that they use this type of apostrophe most often in their writing when they are using direct speech.


There is a case for suggesting that, unless they are using direct speech, contractions should be avoided.

Here are some examples of apostrophes letters have been left out:

We’ll – short for we will.
We’ll get a dog when we move into our new house.
I’m – short for I am.
I’m happy that l can have tomorrow off work.
I’d – short for I would.
I’d like fish and chips for tea, please.
Can’t – short for can not.
Mum can’t afford a new car just yet.
Didn’t – short for did not.
Jenny didn’t go to the party on Saturday.

There are many other examples of contractions and the way in which apostrophes are used to indicate where letters have been omitted.


Click here to see a list of words that use an apostrophe to indicate that there is a letter or letters missing.

An apostrophe can also show that numbers have been omitted:

Can you remember the summer of ’69?
I was in Berlin when the wall fell in ’89.