There are ortographic errors that even Italian native speakers make, most of them concern the use of apostrophe. So here I’ll give you a summary about rules (with examples) you need to know to use it correctly.

First of all, the apostrophe is a mark related to elision and in a few cases to truncation (or apocope).
But what do elision and truncation mean?
Elision is the loss of a final unaccented vowel before a word starting with a vowel or the letter H.
Truncation is the loss of one sound or syllable at the end of a word.
The difference between elision and truncation is that in the latter the apocopated sound preserve and communicate its meaning, even if pronounced in isolation.

Let’s look at all cases of elision:

1. Una before feminine words
Example: un’amica

2. Lo and La (article or pronoun)
Examples: l’olio, l’anatra, l’ho letto, l’ho mangiata

3. Questo, questa
Examples: quest’orso, quest’arte

4. The preposition Di
Examples: d’italia, d’uso, d’accordo

5. Pronoun particles mi, ti, si, vi
Examples. m’ha scritto, t’aiuta, s’arrestò, v’aspettano

6. Pronoun particles ci before vowels e and i
Examples: c’era, c’indica..

7. Plural article gli before words starting with vowel i
Examples: gl’innamorati

8. The preposition Da in some fixed phrases
Examples: d’allora, d’altronde, d’ora in poi..

9. Adjectives bello, bella, santo, santa
Examples: Bell’abito, bell’amaca, sant’Agostino, sant’ Anna

10. Some fixed phrase with tutto
Examples: tutt’al più, tutt’altro, tutt’ a un tratto

11. The phrase with senza
Example: senz’altro

12. Adjective grande both for masculine and feminine words
Examples: grand’ uomo, grand’amica

13. The adjective buono before singular feminine words
Examples: buon’ amica

14. The particle ne
Example: se n’andò

15. The conjunction “anche” only before personal pronouns io, egli, esso/a, essi/e
Example: anch’io, anch’egli, anch’essi..

Now let’ s look at a few cases of truncation in which the apostrophe is mandatory.

Po’ instead of “poco”
Mo’ instead of “modo” in the phrase “A mo’ di” = a modo di, come, per.
Examples. A mo’ d’esempio

Lastly, it is worth considering the case of Qual è / Qual’è ? (which is?)
Which is the correct way of writing it?
This is one of recurring errors made by Italian native speakers and even in the press.
It is written without apostrophe, qual è, as it is a truncation. In fact, “qual” is used before inflections of the verb essere that begin with ‘e’, as well as, before a consonant in one only idiomatic expression:
Qual buon vento ti porta? (What lucky chance brings you here?)

Now that you have read this summary, you will never make mistakes on the use of apostrophe.
That’s for sure!

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