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Welcome to the Spanking Romance A to Z Blog Challenge. Along with a host of other spanking romance authors, I’ll be sharing little posts about a variety of topics for 26 days in June; each will bear a letter of the alphabet. One person who answers each day’s question in a comment for that day’s post will win a $26 Blushing Books gift certificate. You have to comment on all 26 posts to be eligible to win, but I’ve asked easy questions at the end of each short post, so it shouldn’t be onerous. If you’re following along, use the Linky List at the end of each post to visit the next author. I’m sure this is going to be a fun event, so have a great time!

apostropheA is for Apostrophe

Today, I’d like to use my letter A to talk about apostrophes. You know, those little squiggles in the middle and ends of some words.

We’ve all be bombarded on Facebook by the grammar gurus who want us to remember how to punctuate “they’re” and “it’s” and to understand how they’re different from their homonyms. What I’d like to think about today is not about grammar, but more about sound. How do you feel about the word “likin'” or “darlin'” or “li’l”? All of these use apostrophes to indicate a missing letter (or letters). They are almost always used in character dialog, and give the character a Texas twang or a Brooklyn bonus. I like to use them to indicate how real people talk, especially people with pronounced accents. We don’t all sound like news broadcasters, after all. Regions have regional speech patterns.

Like any part of writing, they can be abused. People speaking to others not of their region have to make themselves understood by using more complete words. And lots of readers aren’t from Texas! But peppered through dialog (consistently), I think they can really add to the flavor of a book.

So how do you feel when you read words with apostrophes when they’re indicative of an accent? Does it confuse you or carry you along to a different place or time?

Please don’t forget to pick up your copy of Eddie, My Love at Blushing Books or Amazon.

Remember to answer today and every day for a chance to win books!

For your hopping convenience:


  1. Kathy Heare Watts

    Accents can make a character and help you relate to them in their role.

  2. I don’t think I give it a whole lot of thought at all.

  3. I like apostrophes and use them in my writing and reading. They clarify thoughts and help in organizing paragraphs.

  4. I love using the apostrophe to give my characters interesting dialects or accents. However, I cringe when people misuse it by using it’s instead of its. Like fingernails on a chalk board. 🙂 Great post! Good luck on your Alphabet Challenge, Trish! And congratulations on the release of Eddie!

  5. Rhonda Ralston Griffith

    I’m from Texas and I can’t tell you have many times I have had people ask me to keep talkin’:) My daughter is On the dance team at her high school and all those girls are always tryin’ to sound like me. Apparently I have a pretty bad Texas accent. My hubby tells me all the time that I type the way I talk. So I use apostrophes a lot.

  6. I think the grammar nazis need to “lighten up, Francis”.

    As far as the use of the apostrophes to denote accent or regional diction, I think it’s a case of moderation being best. A few strategically placed apostrophe’s at the beginning can sort of set the stage for that character. Additionally, I think word choice and cadence (and strategically cutting out the occasional connecting word) can go a long way toward establishing an accent or sound.

    I’ve read a couple of books where that went way too far though, especially with depicting the Scottish or Irish accents. But hey, different strokes, right!

  7. Great question. I like to see accents but when they are over-done it makes me crazy. I prefer the accent maybe just for certain words or the first few lines a character speaks just to give us the idea but when it’s done through a whole book I find it annoying. I’ve read some books (non-spanking) where southern accents were overdone and it really bugged me.

    Great idea to ask questions and offer prizes!

  8. I love reading a book and getting a real feel for the way a characters sounds so that I can practically hear them in my head. I think depicting accents via non-conventional spelling and dropping letters can be a great way to do that.

  9. I like accents. It helps give me a better sense of the character.

  10. I am a big fan of colloqualism, including words with apostrophes. One of my characters uses a lot of shortened words to show his accent and Good Ol’ Boy way of talkin’ 😉

  11. I frequently use them in the O’Malley books as they are an Irish family and often drop the ‘g’. It seems to work and I think it adds to the characterization. However, I once read a book where the heroine’s last name was Darling and the hero kept calling her Darlin’. It drove me crazy and I could barely finish the book. I love the Scottish dialect and anything historical that is written, as you say, ‘as though a news broadcaster’ were speaking can break the spell of the book.

  12. tarafinneganromance

    I agree, once in a while it’s nice to see an accent come through in dialogue, but not the whole thing written in accent.
    Congratulations on your release.

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