Figures of Speech- Apostrophe

Figures of Speech- Apostrophe

Figures of speech come in many varieties. The aim is to use the language inventively to accentuate the effect of what is being said. Our online English tutors will provide weekly in-depth articles to help you understand them in as simple words as possible.

Most online English speaking courses in India will offer comprehensive courses that simply introduce Figures of Speech as a concept. This is primarily on account of Figures of speech being promoted for Advanced English levels only. Though they are tricky to use, we at Speechify recommend that our students learn these phrases to get that extra “edge” or dramatic effect in their English speaking abilities.

Online Spoken English classes will generally cover them in Grammar function lessons. However, we recommend that learners should attempt learning basic definitions and must be able to identify one from the other. Regular practice and learning as many examples as possible is one way you can begin your learning journey.

What is an Apostrophe?

A very essential yet sensational thermology that has had a great impact on English literature is the apostrophe. Confused by students with the punctuation mark, surely ‘Apostrophe’ is more profound and deep-rooted.

The apostrophe (' or ’) is a type of punctuation mark. In English, the apostrophe is used for three basic purposes:

  1. The marking of the omission of one or more letters, e.g. the contraction of "do not" to "don't".
  2. The marking of possessive case of nouns (as in "the eagle's feathers", "in one month's time", "at your parents'‌ home").
  3. The marking of plurals of individual characters, e.g. "p's and q's" or Oakland A's.

In this context, the apostrophe is referred to as a literary device, more akin to a poetic phrase created by the speaker or presenter of a subject that does not literally exist, yet it is quite effective in drawing the attention of readers or listeners.

Without the use of apostrophe references and phrases, creative presentation and artistic layout of speech and words are impossible. If there are no apostrophes in English literature, it is undoubtedly off-track, forgotten, and wasted.

Some common examples of everyday Apostrophe’s:

It is interesting to view and find glimpses of everyday or almost-dead things to link and equate with real situations and true to life as apostrophe examples. Let’s see few common ones that we regularly use in our online English classes with our students.

  1. Why do you bother me so much? You idiotic computer!
  2. Oh, captain! Finally, our dreadful journey is over.
  3. Can’t talk to you now, dear eyes.
  4. Oh, bed! Finally, I am with you!
  5. Why do you appear to be such a pain, math?
  6. Oh, coffee, my sweet dark baby. How would I ever live with you?"
  7. Shoes, my gorgeous shoes. You look great with my white short skirt.
  8. You are the deadly alarm! Why do not you let me sleep?
  9. Hey, clouds! Do not scare me now. Do not bring rain today.
  10. My dear chair! Why are you so uncomfortable with me?
  11. Come on the phone, ring for me!
  12. My love for chocolate. Who can resist you?
  13. Number three, you have always brought me luck!
  14. Oh God, please save us from all this crisis!
  15. My heart says to me, "don’t be worried, everything will be fine."
  16. The Moon, you have seen my tears many times.
  17. Love, where are you? I can’t see you anymore!
  18. Mother earth, we couldn’t take a good care of you!
  19. Rainy days always make my mood better!
  20. Oh money, why do you bother all the time?

The above sentences confirm that apostrophes can be easily used and found in daily conversation as well. Further, it has also been seen that apostrophes in general statements take the beginning with the exclamatory sound "O".

What is the need for an apostrophe?

The primary and most important use of an apostrophe is to present and reveal deep emotions, whether they are related to love, passion, hatred, dislike, fear, doubt, or anger.

Fiction, poetry, and prose worldwide are created on the basis of the apostrophe, and undoubtedly it has given substance to words and ideas. They literally cannot be separated or seen away, the apostrophe is referred to as a literary device and is always included in references and addresses. An Apostrophe is a link that connects the emotions to the subject. To benefit from this, many poets and lyricists use apostrophes in composing music or songs or poems.

Undoubtedly, the presence of an apostrophe in a figure of speech is generally found in poetry, dramas, and more often in literature.

Examples of Apostrophes found in literature and poems

As an online English teacher who reads poetry passionately, the below are my favorite examples!

1) "Twinkle, twinkle, little star, How I wonder what you are. "Up above the world so high, like a diamond in the sky.”

Like is in this nursery rhyme, which was penned by Jane Taylor and needs no introduction to children. It is a clear reference to the stars and the first introduction of a child. This rhyme proves the classic use of an apostrophe.

  • 2) "Blue Moon, you saw me standing alone without a dream in my heart without a love of my own."

Another classic reference which was presented by Lorenz Hart in its creation, "Blue Moon".

  • 3) "Oh! Stars and clouds and winds, ye are all about to mock me; if ye really pity me, crush sensation and memory; let me become as nought; but if not, depart, depart, and leave me in darkness. "

Represented by Mary Shelly while expressing the imagination of the speaker.

  • 4) "O, pardon me, thou bleeding piece of earth, That I am meek and gentle with these butchers! "Thou art the ruins of the noblest man who ever lived in the tide of time."

Addressed by Julius Caesar in presenting the obvious impact of Apostrophe.

  • 5) "thou lead that heifer lowing at the skies, And adorn all her silken flanks with garlands?"

Emphasis by John Keats in the reference to "Ode on a Grecian Urn".

  • 6) "Roll on, deep and dark blue ocean."

Another one came from Lord Byron in its mention in "Childe Harold's Pilgrimage"

  • 7) A busy old fool, an unruly sun, why do you call on us through the windows and the curtains?

Highlighted by John Donne in "The Sun Rising".

  • 8) "Is this a dagger which I see before me, the handle toward my hand? Come, let me seize thee! I have thee not, and yet I see you still. "

I must include that Shakespeare created a feeling of apostrophe in Macbeth.

  • 9) Death, do not be proud, even if some have called thee mighty and dreadful, for thou art not."

Mentioned by John in "Holy Sonnet X”.

  • 10) "Then come, sweet death, and rid me of this grief."

Christopher Malowe makes a point here.

  • 11) "Oh, my friends, there is no friend."

Aristotle in its creation of ‘Montaigne’

  • 12) "Ah Bartleby! Ah Humanity!"

Reference in 'Bartleby, the Scrivener' by Herman Melville

  • 13) "O black night, nurse of the golden eyes!"

David Kovacs in its reference in Euripides' Electra.

  • 14) "Then come, sweet death, and rid me of this grief."

Found in 'Queen Isabela in Edward II', referred to by Christopher Malowe.

15) A busy old fool, an unruly sun, why do you call on us through the windows and the curtains? –

John Donne refers to "The Sun Rising" in his poem.

Last but not least,

  • 16) "Dear Ella, Our Special First Lady of Song: You gave your best for so long. "

From 'Dear Ella' by Kenny Burrell.

In the end, we hope you can see the clear difference between the ‘Apostrophe phrase’ and ‘Apostrophe punctuation’ mark. And not to miss: Apostrophe phrases are now a daily affair in English conversation, so use this literary device as often as possible!

Related Articles: Metaphors & Simile | Alliteration | Antithesis


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