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Apostrophe (figure of speech)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Apostrophe (Greek ἀποστροφή, apostrophé, "turning away"; the final e being sounded)[1] is an exclamatory figure of speech.[2] It occurs when a speaker breaks off from addressing the audience (e.g., in a play) and directs speech to a third party such as an opposing litigant or some other individual, sometimes absent from the scene. Often the addressee is a personified abstract quality or inanimate object.[3][4] In dramatic works and poetry written in or translated into English, such a figure of speech is often introduced by the vocative exclamation, "O". Poets may apostrophize a beloved, the Muses, God or gods, love, time, or any other entity that can't respond in reality.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "apostrophe". Dictionary.com Unabridged (Online). n.d. Retrieved 2017-01-12.
  2. ^ "Apostrophe" . Encyclopædia Britannica. Vol. 2 (11th ed.). 1911. p. 205.
  3. ^ Hays, J. Daniel; Duvall, J. Scott (1 September 2011). The Baker Illustrated Bible Handbook (Text Only ed.). Baker Books. p. 891. ISBN 978-1-4412-3785-9.
  4. ^ Ford, Margaret L. (1984). Techniques of Good Writing. Irwin Pub. p. 27. ISBN 978-0-7725-5001-9. Retrieved 8 August 2013.
  5. ^ Greenblatt, Stephen (2006). The Norton Anthology of English Literature. Vol. D (8 ed.). New York: Norton. p. 429.
  6. ^ "Politics of friendship. (Cover Story)". American Imago. September 22, 1993.