Why do we use an apostrophe in geht’s?

Mir geht’s sehr gut, und dir?

  • 6
    Why is there an apostrophe in "don't"? – Hubert Schölnast Feb 6 '17 at 19:43
  • Apostrophe wurde schon hundertmal gefragt, rechts bei 'related' ist schon eine kleine Auswahl. – user unknown Feb 7 '17 at 1:53

The apostrophe in geht's is a contraction, indicating that a letter is skipped from the formal spelling.

The actual (formal) phrase is:

Mir geht es sehr gut, und dir?

This spelling actually indicates the common casual pronunciation of the phrase. If you listen carefully you will be able to hear the difference - some people will enunciate the 'es' clearly, while others will not (or the same person will pronounce the 'es' when they speak more formally)


As it would be expected, the apostrophe indicates a contraction. Here, the full phrase in formal German would be:

Mir geht es (sehr) gut, und dir?

(The comma is optional and the strengthener sehr is not needed.)

However, practically nobody would ever pronounce geht’s as two words — although I even know somebody who would (she always speaks very slowly and clearly). Therefore, outside of wholly written texts (e.g. newspaper articles) or literature that does not attempt to truthfully represent pronunciation of direct speech, this will practically always be shortened. The basis for this is § 97 of the official spelling rules:

Man kann den Apostroph setzen, wenn Wörter gesprochener Sprache mit Auslassungen bei schriftlicher Wiedergabe undurchsichtig sind.

Loosely translated:

An apostrophe may be typeset, if words with contractions in spoken language are unclear/difficult to read in writing.

Thus, the apostrophe in geht’s is actually not mandatory but merely optional. Therefore, you may have seen gehts in one place or another instead.


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