Dr. Richard Nordquist is professor emeritus of rhetoric and English at Georgia Southern University and the author of several university-level grammar and composition textbooks. Shakespeare made use of apostrophes in many instances. So we should not rely on it, since a style figure can also be used against the expectations of the reader. Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox. — Sara Holdren, Vulture, 15 Oct. 2018. Is this a dagger which I see before me, Sentence á la “Oh my God!” Or “Jesus, Mary and Joseph!” Always point to an absent instance. An apostrophe is a punctuation mark that primarily serves to indicate either grammatical possession or the contraction of two words.

Many examples of apostrophe in English begin with the exclamatory sound “O,” to signify a change in the addressee. This type of apostrophe is a literary device where the speaker addresses a person who is dead or not present, or an inanimate object that the speaker addresses as if it were alive. Today the bell must be, The apostrophe is, therefore, understood as a turning-point of the orator to those who have so far been angered, absent or even dead, uninhabited things and objects.eval(ez_write_tag([[250,250],'studyboss_com-large-leaderboard-2','ezslot_7',109,'0','0'])); To export a reference to this article please select a referencing style below: Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. — Kathleen Alcott, The New Yorker, 22 June 2015.

It does not matter whether it is temporarily not present, does not exist, or is only fictional in the reality of the speaker, such as readers and narrator. In this case, Keats declares to the nightingale, “Thou wast not born for death.” He notes that the song of the nightingale has been heard for generations and should never cease.

As a literary device, apostrophe refers to a speech or address to a person who is not present or to a personified object, such as Yorick's skull in Hamlet. You are already familiar with the punctuation mark known as the apostrophe. It is important not to confuse apostrophe, the literary device, with the apostrophe punctuation mark (‘). You are already familiar with the punctuation mark known as the apostrophe.

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John Donne’s “Holy Sonnet 10” addresses Death as a concept and inspired a famous novel of the same name by John Gunther.

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