1. cutecat22
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    cutecat22 The Strange One Contributor

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    Double Apostrophe Word

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by cutecat22, Aug 27, 2014.

    shouldn't've

    My spell checker actually likes this word and it is one used a lot in spoken English.

    Do you think I could use it or revert to shouldn't have.

    ?
     
  2. A.M.P.
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    A.M.P. People Buy My Books for the Bio Photo Supporter Contributor

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    Personally, this is my opinion, I'd keep it as dialogue at most.
    In narrative, I think you're better avoiding it.
     
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  3. cutecat22
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    cutecat22 The Strange One Contributor

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    I currently have it in dialogue. I wouldn't use it in narrative. It's one of those words that looks wrong but sounds right.

    I'm going to leave it in for now and see what reaction I get from test readers and my editor.
     
  4. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    What you have is incorrect, though probably not for the reason you're thinking. Using a contraction with "have" is fine as long as it's acting as an auxiliary verb. Saying something like
    is fine, but something like
    is not. In your case, "have" isn't being used as an auxiliary verb.
     
  5. cutecat22
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    cutecat22 The Strange One Contributor

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    Any other time, I would agree with you. But when you speak, you don't always stop to think if you're speaking grammatically correct.

    I shouldn't've - is how my characters says "I should not have"
     
  6. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    I posted before reading your post about this being dialogue. I'd still avoid using it, though. Dialogue isn't meant to exactly mimic real-life speech. Otherwise we'd see a lot of "coulda" and "shoulda" and other such terms.
     
  7. Trish
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    Trish I've been deleted.. again Contributor

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    I agree with @A.M.P.

    I would use it in dialogue if it absolutely fit, though I would do it sparingly. I would not use it in narrative - ever.
     
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  8. cutecat22
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    cutecat22 The Strange One Contributor

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    I would be quite happy reading those words as dialogue if it was part of the character. I am reading a book at the moment that's set in the North East of England so it's full of Geordie terms because that's how the character speaks.
     
  9. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    I wonder if it's an English thing. 'Shouldn't've' conjures up exactly the accent and the context for me, I've heard it loads of times in speech here, so it would be an ok thing for me. But American readers might feel differently, perhaps it's not spoken so often there?
     
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2014
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  10. stevesh
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    stevesh Banned Contributor

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    Seeing that word, even in dialogue, would make me stop reading and have to go back and see if it was a typo, so no.
     
  11. Kat Hawthorne
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    Kat Hawthorne Member

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    This is not mentioned at all in the Chicago, which means it will probably be considered an error by your editor. However, it is my personal feeling that, in dialogue only, it works.

    An apostrophe is meant to convey a missing letter in a contraction, and the mark itself is meant to take the place of those letters (it is now a part of the word, which is why it always goes inside of the quotation marks). It is nonconventional to be sure, but if it occurs in dialogue, I'd allow it. It's really not so different from having, "Hey, how you doin'?" in your text. You see that kind of slang in dialogue all the time.

    As I said, this is just my opinion. Your editor may feel differently.
     
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  12. Kat Hawthorne
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    Kat Hawthorne Member

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    I forgot to add this bit!

    I do feel the way you have it is not incorrect, HOWEVER, I would suggest rewriting it like this: shouldn't 'ave. This will keep your editor happy and not force her to make a judgement call, and it maintains the casual level of the dialogue.
     
  13. cutecat22
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    cutecat22 The Strange One Contributor

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    That would actually give it a London, England twang and the story is not set in London (or even England)

    Definitely something to think about but I think I may reword the whole sentence.
     
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2014
  14. stevesh
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    stevesh Banned Contributor

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    There can be a difference between dialogue and dialect. I might let that word slide in the latter.
     
  15. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    Just make sure you aren't taking advice from the forum too seriously. Nobody here is a pro, and people come from all over.
     
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  16. cutecat22
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    cutecat22 The Strange One Contributor

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    I agree. It's like one of those things that seems great at the time but the more you think about it, the less great it seems. I also don't think it's something my character would say. Hmm.
     
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  17. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    @cutecat22 : And don't overthink it :D
     
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  18. cutecat22
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    cutecat22 The Strange One Contributor

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    You know me so well!!! :-D
     
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  19. digitig
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    digitig Contributing Member Contributor

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    Looking it up in the Google NGram viewer, it's interesting to see that the use of "shouldn't've" has grown from nothing in 1900 up to a small (but not insignificant) 20 per billion words in US English and 12 per billion words in British English by 2000. I also find it interesting that the use grew fairly steadily in Britain, but in the USA it rose quickly to a peak in the late 1940s, fell right back, and climbed again until the early 2000s then fell sharply again. I can't remember whether links are allowed in this topic, but if you search for Google NGrams, enter the criteria "shouldn't've:eng_us_2012,shouldn't've:eng_gb_2012" and change the dates you should see the graph I'm seeing.

    I suppose what all that comes down to is that if you do use it, you won't be the only one.
     
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  20. matwoolf
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    matwoolf Contributing Member Contributor

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    From my research: 'straight dope' has a thread:

    ...they'll've

    however, fish 'n' chips...is not an example of the double apostrophe, although disputed by the scholars on a most fascinating thread.

    Take this delightful snippet from Barrowby's Pony (1921)

    'Aye, they'll've drunk all't beer by time we arrive.'
    'Aye.'
    'Best us two make do wit' bag o' fish'n' chips, from round t' corner.'
    'Oh, aye, but we forgot the king o' England's horse. '
    'Bugger, aye, he shouldn't've eaten those oats, he'll have no room for his chips.'
    'Aye. Though does the king eat chips?'
    'No, his horse ye daft apeth.'

    The 'clitic' - example a: the king of England's horse.
     
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  21. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    Even in dialogue, I wouldn't use it. As stevesh noted, it's something that would make the reader stop and re-read (as I had to in your post) and that's rarely a good thing. It really doesn't matter if that's how people "really talk", or if it's dialect/accent - this particular word is just too clumsy in written form. JMO, of course.
     
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  22. Joe_
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    Joe_ Member

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    Hey mista'. You wanna' buy some watches? ..I feel anything to show, even dialogue, is correct. Remember, their are no rules!
     
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  23. Joe_
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    Joe_ Member

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    I have been reading up on James Joyce, Kurt Vonnegut.. How they broke all the rules and as the book says, they got away with it. One Author, Kelly Nickell explains when she was teaching , she gave a basic rule. "Whatever works, works."
    You just have to get the reader to 'buy it.' It has freed me up to experiment and not worry so much about how to write. I focus on what to write and how to connect with the reader.

    disclaimer; I am new to writing and every thing I just said may be stupid. 'That's all I got to say about that'
     
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  24. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    Well, actually there are. The rules of grammer are what allow us to communicate effectively, so one should have a very good reason for breaking them.
     
  25. Swiveltaffy
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    Swiveltaffy Contributing Member Contributor

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    I would think that @Joe_ meant that there are no objective rules. Sure, convention exists; we have contrived a standard. Though, I agree, kind of.
     

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