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Rules for placement of the long-s (ſ) in English.
Here's what I have found to be generally true although I've also found exceptions.
Examples are shown in [italics].
The short-s, (s):
- At the end of a word. [proofreaders]
- Before an apostrophe. [clos'd]
- Before a hyphen in hyphenated words. [has-been]
- Before or after the letter 'f'. [transfer, selfsame]
- Also, for some 17th and 18th century books, before the letter 'b' or 'k'. [disbelief, ask]
The long-s, (ſ):
- At the start of a word.[ſecond]
- In the middle of a word. [firſt]
- Before a hyphen at a line or page-break even if it would normally be a short-s. [pleaſ-ing]
- In abbreviations the same rules are followed.
- Middle of a word. Double long-s. [meſſy]
- End of word. Long-s followed by short-s. [braſs]