As far as I understand, if an apostrophe is in place of some letter, this letter isn't pronounced. For example:
is not ['iz 'na:t] → isn't ['iznt]
about [ə'baut] → 'bout ['baut]
because [ˈkɑ:z] → 'cause [ˈkɑ:z]

But what does an apostrophe change, appearing instead of "g" in the ending "ing"?:
-ing [iŋ] → -in' [?]
For example:
doing → doin'

Maybe [iŋ] → [in], i.e. [ŋ] becomes [n]?

  • 1
    In some dialects of English, -ing is pronounced -in. Commented Dec 27, 2022 at 9:48

2 Answers 2


Exactly as you say. The apostrophe indicates that the word is pronounced with an /n/. So doing = /ˈduːɪŋ/ becomes doin' = /ˈduːɪn/

This is a fairly common pronunciation in nearly all dialects of English (the exception is South African English) However it is often seen as an error in careful or standard speech.

There is no letter to represent /ŋ/ in English, it is represented by "ng", and /n/ is represented by "n" so omitting the g in writing implies the change of sound.

It is sometimes called "g-dropping" (by analogy with h-dropping, and in reference to the spelling) although no actual "g" sound is lost, instead /ŋ/ becomes /n/


Used in that context,the apostrophe is meant to show that the speaker left out the sound of the g. It is an attempt to portray the sound of accented English, i.e., onomatopoeia for spoken language.

Take this example of Scots dialect (perhaps tongue in cheek): "Alasdair and Ashley wis feart they wadna win at the kirk in time tae be mairit." Consult the link for "translation."

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