1. Bone2pick

    Bone2pick Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2018
    Messages:
    945
    Likes Received:
    820

    em (them)

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by Bone2pick, Apr 4, 2019.

    I'm writing a monologue where the character regularly uses 'em' instead of 'them'. Anyway, I was wondering how you all feel that's best done? Here are two of the sentences in question.

    "And I don't blame'em."

    "All of us in the know, call'em the . . ."

    As you can see, I'm using apostrophes, but I'm not sure if that's correct.
     
  2. sammieux

    sammieux Banned

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2019
    Messages:
    51
    Likes Received:
    19
    From the OP I was ready to say that I would not read anything like that but now with your examples I see how that is actually how some folks talk so in context it would just acceptable. I would have written it without the apostrophe but I think that with it may be slightly better for print even if actual speech runs them directly together as one word eg callem.
     
  3. John Calligan

    John Calligan Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2015
    Messages:
    1,560
    Likes Received:
    1,624
    I think your examples are fine. That’s how I talk and how I’d write it.
     
    Iain Aschendale likes this.
  4. jannert

    jannert Who? Whooo? Staff Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2013
    Messages:
    14,587
    Likes Received:
    16,208
    Location:
    Scotland
    I think I'd write, "And I don't blame 'em." and "All of us in the know, call 'em the..."

    I just grabbed the first book on my shelf that I know contains these kinds of abbreviations (the cowboy classic Trails Plowed Under, by Charles M Russell) and the book is filled with this kind of thing. The apostrophe denoting a dropped letter is always separated from the previous (or following) word by a space, at least in this book. It looks 'right' to me.

    The dialogue does this in Old Yeller, by Fred Gipson, as well:

     
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2019
    John Calligan and Bone2pick like this.
  5. Shenanigator

    Shenanigator Has the Vocabulary of a Well-Educated Sailor. Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2017
    Messages:
    4,892
    Likes Received:
    8,743
    An apostrophe to indicate the missing letters is correct, as in:

    "We've got 'em!"

    "Go get 'er!"
     
    Iain Aschendale likes this.
  6. BayView

    BayView Huh. Interesting. Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2014
    Messages:
    10,855
    Likes Received:
    11,650
    I agree that the apostrophe is appropriate. Just add the space to your examples in the OP and you're good to go.
     
    Iain Aschendale likes this.
  7. Bone2pick

    Bone2pick Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2018
    Messages:
    945
    Likes Received:
    820
    Yeah, that looks correct to me too. I suspected something was wrong during my reread, but I couldn't pin down what it was. Problem solved: I need a space before the apostrophe.
     
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2019
  8. EBohio

    EBohio Banned

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2018
    Messages:
    1,016
    Likes Received:
    674
    Location:
    Ohio
    Like someone said just add a space.

    "And I don't blame 'em."

    "All of us in the know, call 'em the . . ."
     
  9. JackL

    JackL Member

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2013
    Messages:
    22
    Likes Received:
    26
    Location:
    West Madlands
    Just remember that with contraction apostrophes, they only go one way around, that just means you always use the closing apostrophe. (Think single quote marks: you always use the end one to show a missing a word, not the first one! It's hard to show it in this font, but a common mistake with authors is that they put the contraction apostrophe the wrong way around.).
     
  10. matwoolf

    matwoolf Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2012
    Messages:
    6,434
    Likes Received:
    9,160
    Location:
    Yorkshire
    "And I don't blame 'em."

    Or for US speech/dialect:

    "And I don't blame 'am."

    Or

    "And I don't blame 'om."
     
    SethLoki likes this.
  11. SethLoki

    SethLoki Retired Autodidact Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2011
    Messages:
    1,291
    Likes Received:
    1,277
    Location:
    Manchester UK
    S'called elision y'know.
     
    matwoolf likes this.
  12. EBohio

    EBohio Banned

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2018
    Messages:
    1,016
    Likes Received:
    674
    Location:
    Ohio
    He has it right in his example.
     

Share This Page