ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Apostrophe: Definition and Examples of Aposrophe

Updated on November 29, 2017
Rafiq23 profile image

Muhammad Rafiq is a freelance writer, blogger, and translator with a Master's degree in English literature from the University of Malakand.

Apostrophe in Literature
Apostrophe in Literature | Source

Definition of Apostrophe

The word apostrophe derives from the Greek word apostrophos, which means turning away. In literature, apostrophe is a figure of speech which is used to address an absent or imaginary person, a real or imagined object or an abstract quality as if it were a living thing and present before the speaker. Usually, the apostrophe starts with the letter ‘O’ or with the name of the person the poet is addressing. It should be noted that it is different from the grammatical term, apostrophe, which means a punctuation mark.

Example # 1

John Milton’s sonnet, To Mr. Lawrence begins with an apostrophe. In this poem, John Milton addresses his friend, Mr. Edward Lawrence as if he were present before him. He desires to have a conversation with him. Look at the following lines taken from To Mr. Lawrence:

Lawrence, of virtuous father virtuous son,
Now that the fields are dank, and ways are mire,
Where shall we sometimes meet, and by the fire
Help waste a sullen day……

Apostrophe: A Literary Device

Example # 2

John Keats’ poem Ode to a Nightingale also offers an example of an apostrophe. Look at the following lines, wherein the poet addresses the nightingale:

Thou wast not born for death, immortal Bird!
No hungry generations tread thee down;
The voice I hear this passing night was heard
In ancient days by emperor and clown:
Perhaps the self-same song that found a path
Through the sad heart of Ruth, when, sick for home,
She stood in tears amid the alien corn……..

Apostrophe in Literature
Apostrophe in Literature | Source

Example # 3

John Donne, in his poem, The Sun Rising, uses an apostrophe to chide the sun as it disturbs them while they are making love. He calls it a busy old fool, saucy pedantic wretch and unruly sun. The whole poem is addressed to the sun. Look at the following lines taken from The Sun Rising:

Busy old fool, unruly Sun,
Why dost thou thus,
Through windows and through curtains call on us ?
Must to thy motions lovers’ seasons run ?
Saucy pedantic wretch, go chide
Late school-boys, and sour ’prentices,
Go tell court-huntsmen that the King will ride,
Call country ants to harvest offices ;
Love, all alike, no season knows, nor clime,
Nor hours, days, months, which are the rags of time.


Example # 4

In Shakespeare's play, Macbeth, an apostrophe has been used to show the emotional intensity of Macbeth, who is struggling to murder the King Duncan. Look at the following lines taken from Macbeth:

Is this a dagger which I see before me,
The handle toward my hand? Come, let me clutch thee!
I have thee not, and yet I see thee still.
Art thou not, fatal vision, sensible
To feelings as to sight? Or art thou but
A dagger of the mind, a false creation
Proceeding from the heat oppresséd brain?
I see thee yet, in form as palpable
As this which I now draw.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Rafiq23 profile imageAUTHOR

      Muhammad Rafiq 

      3 years ago from Pakistan

      Thanks Bill for your comments. Have a nice day!

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Good information. I read a lot, and I'm always surprised by the number of writers who do not understand basic punctuation.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)