Figures of Speech IloveIndia

Apostrophe, here, is not the punctuation that we are all familiar with; it is that lesser known figure of speech that we read and use many-a-times, only we don't know when. Read on for examples for Apostrophes to know this concept a little better!

Apostrophes Examples

You might have come across lines like "Then come, sweet death, and rid me of this grief." It is written in such a way that the person is talking to death which is, obviously, not a person, but a phenomenon. This is an example of apostrophe, which is an important figure of speech. Apostrophes are words spoken to a person or object which is inherently imaginary object or is an abstract idea. These kinds of apostrophes usually find relevance in literature. It is natural that you may get confused with the regular apostrophe which you learnt in your grammar class. However, it is important that you identify the difference between the two. While the regular apostrophe you knew is a punctuation mark, the one that we are discussing now is a figure of speech, an arrangement of words. Also, you can quite easily identify this figure of speech as it is often found in combination with the exclamation "O". It is always better to go through some examples to get rid of any confusion. Here are some examples that can help you understand more about the concept 'apostrophe'.

Examples of Apostrophes
  • "Twinkle, twinkle, little star, How I wonder what you are. Up above the world so high, Like a diamond in the sky." This nursery rhyme from 'The Star', written by Jane Taylor, is a child's address to a star. Talking to a star being an imaginary idea, this rhyme makes for a classic example of an Apostrophe.
  • "Blue Moon, you saw me standing alone
    Without a dream in my heart
    Without a love of my own." - from "Blue Moon" by Lorenz Hart
  • "Oh! Stars and clouds and winds, ye are all about to mock me; if ye really pity me, crush sensation and memory; let me become as nought; but if not, depart, depart, and leave me in darkness."- from Frankenstein by Mary Shelly.
  • "Forerunner, I would like to say, silent pilot,
    Little dry death, future,
    Your indirections are as strange to me
    As my own. I know so little that anything
    You might tell me would be a revelation." - from 'Sire' The Second Four Books of Poems by W.S. Merwin.
  • "O, pardon me, thou bleeding piece of earth, / That I am meek and gentle with these butchers! / Thou art the ruins of the noblest man / That ever lived in the tide of times." - from Julius Caesar
  • "To what green altar, O mysterious priest, / Lead'st thou that heifer lowing at the skies, / And all her silken flanks with garlands drest?" - from "Ode on a Grecian Urn" by John Keats
  • "Roll on thou dark and deep Blue Ocean." - from "Childe Harold's Pilgrimage" by Lord Byron
  • Busy old fool, unruly sun,
    Why dost thou thus,
    Through windows, and through curtains call on us? - from "The Sun Rising" by John Donne.
  • "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." - from Macbeth by Shakespeare
  • "O eloquent, just, and mighty Death!" - from 'A Historie of the World' by Sir Walter Raleigh.
  • "Death, be not proud, though some have called thee / Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so" - From "Holy Sonnet X" by John Donne.
  • "Then come, sweet death, and rid me of this grief." - Christopher Malowe
  • "O My friends, there is no friend." - from Montaigne by Aristotle
  • "Ah Bartleby! Ah Humanity!" - from 'Bartleby, the Scrivener' by Herman Melville
  • "O black night, nurse of the golden eyes!" - from Euripides' Electra (translation) by David Kovacs.
  • "Then come, sweet death, and rid me of this grief." - from 'Queen Isabela in Edward II' by Christopher Malowe.
  • Busy old fool, unruly sun,
    Why dost thou thus,
    Through windows, and through curtains call on us? - from 'The Sun Rising' by John Donne.
  • "O western wind, when wilt thou blow
    That the small rain down can rain?"
    "Bright star, would I were steadfast as thou art" - by John Keats
  • "Welcome, O life! I go to encounter for the millionth time the reality of experience and to forge in the smithy of my soul the uncreated conscience of my race." - from 'A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man' by James Joyce.
  • "Forerunner, I would like to say, silent pilot,
    Little dry death, future,
    Your indirections are as strange to me
    As my own. I know so little that anything
    You might tell me would be a revelation." - from 'Sire' by W.S. Merwin.
  • "O stranger of the future!
    O inconceivable being!
    whatever the shape of your house,
    however you scoot from place to place,
    no matter how strange and colorless the clothes you may wear,
    I bet nobody likes a wet dog either.
    I bet everyone in your pub,
    even the children, pushes her away." from "To a Stranger Born in Some Distant Country Hundreds of Years from Now' by Billy Collins.
  • "Dear Ella, Our Special First Lady of Song, You gave your best for so long." - from 'Dear Ella' by Kenny Burrell.
  • Value of wisdom that fadeth not away with time, virtue ever flourishing that cleanseth its possessor from all venom! O heavenly gift of the divine bounty, descending from the Father of lights, that thou mayest exalt the rational soul to the very heavens! Thou art the celestial nourishment of the intellect ... --Richard de Bury
  • Books who alone are liberal and free, who give to all who ask of you and enfranchise all who serve you faithfully! -- Richard de Bury
  • Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, just as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not have it!
So, this is how you use apostrophes as figures of speech. You might already be aware that it is not wise to stay away from learning about apostrophes while taking your grammar classes, as its importance to creative speech is evident in the above examples.

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