Apóstrofo [ ' ]

Spanish Apostrophe

Apostrophes very rare in Spanish, they're used used in written Spanish to indicate the omission of letters when we pronounce these words in a colloquial register. The most common examples are:

para = pa'

Without the apostrophe:

¿Para qué lo quieres?
What do you want it for?

With the apostrophe:

¿Pa'qué lo quieres? 

Without the apostrophe:

Te lo doy para que me dejes en paz.
I will give it to you so you leave me alone.

With the apostrophe:

Te lo doy pa'que me dejes en paz.

Notice how in the examples above, the two words around the apostrophe become one word, similarly to how the two English words did not contract into the single word didn't.

With some prepositions, articles and conjunctions in old texts

In old Spanish texts there are some apostrophes, for example:

d'aquel = de aquel

l'aspereza = la aspereza

qu'es = que es

Borrowed words

Words with apostrophes borrowed from other languages keep the apostrophe in Spanish. For example:


L'Hospitalet de Llobregat

Incorrect uses of the apostrophe

In Spanish we cannot use the apostrophe in the following cases:

  • We cannot use [apostrophe + s] at the end of a pluralised acronym, for example:

Las ONG's  (incorrect)<

Las ONG (correct)

  • We cannot use the apostrophe in front of the abbreviation of a year, for example:

En diciembre del '89 (incorrect)
In December 1989

En diciembre del 89 (correct)
In December 1989

  • We cannot use the apostrophe as the separator for hours and minutes, for example:

A las 15'30 (incorrect)

A las 15:30 / A las 15.30 (correct)

  • We cannot use the apostrophe as a decimal separator, for example:

Son 24'50 euros
That's 24 euros 50 (incorrect)

Son 24,50 euros
That's 24 euros 50 (correct)

Let me take a look at that...