Here’s the deal. I am adamantly against the use of ’n’ as an abbreviation for the word and. As in 80’s hip hop power house Salt ’n’ Pepa, British culinary delight Fish ’n’ Chips, or, in its most recognizable form – Rock ’n’ Roll. In all cases, I do not approve.
Firstly, how lazy can we be? We don’t have time to type out “Franks and Beans”…we need the handy abbreviation “Franks ’n’ Beans”? It’s the same number of characters. We’re saving neither time nor space for the sake of being able to slur our words together.
And that’s a lot of pressure on one letter. You think n isn’t busy enough representing North on maps, Nitrogen on periodic tables and taking the lead in spelling important words like narwhal, nachos and nephew? The fourteenth is a busy letter, it can’t be reasonably expected to go around representing conjunctions in its spare time. Heck, it doesn’t have any spare time. I mean, imagine a world in which n is so busy replacing all of the and’s that it can’t attend to its normal duties. Chilling, no? What would you call your sibling’s son?
Plus I simply can’t get behind the notion of having two apostrophes in one word. The first is a stand in for the a and the second takes the place of the d. That’s simply too much to keep track of. Don’t believe me? Ask Shake ’n Bake – what does Kraft think this means? Shake in Bake? Shake on Bake? Or what about Guns n’ Roses? You see? It’s madness.
And if we allow for two apostrophes in one word, what’s to stop people from abbreviating but as ’u’? Or how about ’a’? Is that supposed to be cat, jam, fax? It’s preposterous. I won’t live in a world where I can’t distinguish my cat from my fax. Really, is this the future or our language? Or should I say, Rea’’y, ’s t’i’ ’h’ fu’ur’ o’ ’u’ la’gua’e?
So, how am I going to do it? How will I stop the use of ’n’ and restore order to our world? I think I’ll start a campaign bringing attention to the importance of a and d. If these letters garnered more respect perhaps people would be less likely to discard them for a pair of apostrophes. Yes, an ad promoting these fine letters (after all, you can’t have an ad without a and d). We’ll buy billboards. Purchase air time. Design internet pop ups. Saturate the radio market. I think I’ve got the key line for my campaign – “Where would you be…without a ’n’ d ?”