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Write the Right Word: Omitted Numbers

You know you need to use an apostrophe when you leave out numbers. But where does that apostrophe go?

For dates (years), it goes before the number, not after it. For example, if you are referring to the 1920s, you would write ’20s. The apostrophe replaces the 19.

The apostrophe must curve to the left. You probably noticed that if you type a single apostrophe before a number or letter, it curves to the right. Simply type a second apostrophe (it curves to the left) and delete the first one.

Note that you do not use an apostrophe between the number and the “s.” That’s because you are not omitting anything. The same rule applies to other numbers, such a temperatures or sizes. For example: “Today’s temperatures will be in the low 60s.” or “The shoe store had several size 7s.”

Ellen Crawford, information specialist, (701) 231-5391

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