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The poor apostrophe gets bashed again

by: Garry Pierrepont (2 February 2009)

The debate about apostrophes rambles on, doesn’t it? Now Birmingham City Council has poked its nose in, declaring that it will scrap apostrophes on all its road signs to make the signage policy “more consistent”.

I’ve got an idea! Why not make the correct use of apostrophes compulsory to make the policy “more consistent” and also adhere to the rules of English? Wouldn’t that make more sense? Why do we always have to bow the lowest common denominator?

Will Birmingham City Council make the next logical move and scrap all capital letters, in text-speak style. So St Paul’s Square becomes st pauls square? Eventually, presumably, the minutes of their meetings will be free of all punctuation to ensure that apparently elusive “consistency”. Ah, that would be a relief to them, wouldn’t it?

It makes my blood boil (as you can no doubt tell) when these petty bureaucrats take it upon themselves to make their own rules about the language when the proper rules are there for good reasons; the main reason being to ensure clarity of meaning. Consistency should naturally follow.

I’m not going to go into the rules of using apostrophes here. They have been covered elsewhere – even in a blog on this website. They are not difficult if properly taught, but maybe that’s the problem.

Or, as Birmingham City Council might have it:

the debate about apostrophes rambles on doesnt it now birmingham city council has poked its nose in declaring that it will scrap apostrophes on all its road signs to make the signage policy more consistent ive got an idea why not make the correct use of apostrophes compulsory to make the policy more consistent and also adhere to the rules of english wouldnt that make more sense why do we always have to bow the lowest common denominator will birmingham city council make the next logical move and scrap all capital letters in text speak style so st pauls square becomes st pauls square eventually presumably the minutes of their meetings will be free of all punctuation to ensure that apparently elusive consistency ah that would be a relief to them wouldnt it it makes my blood boil as you can no doubt tell when these petty bureaucrats take it upon themselves to make their own rules about the language when the proper rules are there for good reasons the main reason being to ensure clarity of meaning consistency should naturally follow im not going to go into the rules of using apostrophes here they have been covered elsewhere even in a blog on this website they are not difficult if properly taught but maybe thats the problem

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