December 11, 2013 - submitted by Grace, Australia

Q. Hello Oracle!
You recently answered a question about the Shiver lyrics. I had honestly never thought about it like that, I always thought it was a question rather than saying don't shiver. But now I'm a little confused, the lyrics are "Don't you shiver", which without commas is "do not you shiver", which doesn't makes sense... Am I wrong, because I think that'd explain a lot ahaha thank you and I hope you can understand my explanation!
(p.s I'm sorry if this is a silly question!!)


The Oracle replies:

Hello (again). You mean the apostrophe. It's true an apostrophe replaces the letter o but it doesn't have to be taken literally or rather, gramattically. We simply do not go around (see what I did there) necessarily saying things in full or with regard to the sense without that apostrophe. To illustrate what I mean, The Human League had a massive hit in the 80s with Don't You Want Me. Nobody would say "do not you want me?" but somehow it works with the "don't".
There are many examples of apostrophe use that challenges the rules.