Here’s a tweet from our commander-in-chief that was hammered out Friday morning:
To get a little deeper into the rabbit hole, this tweet refers to a previous tweet:
Now, I actually believe Trump that he knows how to spell the word “little,” and that he was doing something else here.
There are three points to be made after reading both tweets:
1. The punctuation mark used in the original tweet, after the word Liddle, is an apostrophe. Not a hyphen. A hyphen looks like this: -. An apostrophe looks like this: ’. Donald Trump does not know what a hyphen is.
2. Putting that aside, there was no reason to use an apostrophe in the first place. An apostrophe is used, in the sense that Trump meant to use it, in order to note that certain letters have omitted. Again, that’s omitted, not changed. For example, if you wanted to note the way some American speakers leave off the terminal G in their gerunds, you’d put an apostrophe after the N, as in: “I’m starvin’ mama!” In the case of the word little, you most often see the apostrophe knock off the Ts and E, as in the comic strip “Li’l Abner.” If Trump had called Schiff “Li’l Adam Schiff,” the apostrophe would have made sense. But he didn’t—he called him “Liddle,” which seems like he was going for a childish slant on the word, like the way some kids say “widdle” instead of “little,” except that Trump forgot the W. It was a way of demeaning Schiff with a mocking, baby-like pronunciation. But it did not need an apostrophe anywhere, much less at the end of the word. The word was complete. There were no letters left off the end, and there was no possessive.
3. Speaking of hyphens, there should be one in “second hand,” since it’s an adjective and not a reference to the longest hand on a clock. Ditto for “never ending” in the second tweet.
Thank you for reading.