English is not my native language, and I keep trying every day to develop my skills in it but I saw a new word of gon' instead of gone.

And I keep wondering: why do we add an apostrophe to it?

Example :

These people gon' tell you that you won't ever make it.

  • 6
    I think the apostrophe is probably intended to indicate this is short for gonna (which itself is short for going to) rather than being the word gone. If you give us the context, we can decide whether this is correct. Nov 29, 2019 at 19:50
  • Can you give an example of a sentence containing gon'? Without any context, I would guess that it's short for gonna or going to, not gone. Nov 29, 2019 at 19:55
  • it's not common. It could represent an attempt to show a particular accent. Can you give an example?
    – jimm101
    Nov 29, 2019 at 20:03
  • 2
    @SugarBen: That's definitely short for gonna. Nov 29, 2019 at 20:29
  • 1
    It's not because we 'need to shorten a word', it's to show how this particular person speaks. Nov 30, 2019 at 9:09

2 Answers 2


The apostrophe is used to indicate missing letters relative to some standard English.

There are a number of situations where letters may be missing: There are several common contractions, such as I'm for I am, or don't for do not. There is also the use of the apostrophe in possessives (originally also a contraction, now just a rule).

There is also the use of apostrophes to indicate a particular contracted pronunciation of a word in a dialect. I this case the speaker has contracted

These people are going to tell you...

to "... are gonna ..." to

These people gon tell you...

This is typical of some rural American dialects. The author wants to indicate the dialect. The apostrophe hints that letters are missing, relative to the standard spelling and help the reader work out what is being said. In spoken English, the accent would also guide the hearer to expect this kind of contraction.

You will see various attempts by authors to write in an accent. Many accents and dialects have contractions compared to standard English. For more examples, look at JK Rowling's attempt at West Country English in What English is this? which is analysed in greater depth in an analysis of Hagrid's dialect


Gon' or going to, or gonna...yes, correct. It's American thingy, hood version. All contractions simply accommodate a speaker for a concise, smooth, quick sentence. But in simple conversation, it's really redundant "gon'". Mostly it's used in songs, hip hop, like 6ix9ine's song "Gotti Gotti" ...I pray to God that my family gon'(gonna) see... So, contractions are quite helpful when it comes to rhymes, you know.

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