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Another council drops its apostrophes

by: Garry Pierrepont (13 February 2009)

Wakefield Council in West Yorkshire this week became the second council to drop apostrophes on road signs "to avoid confusion". The council is following the lead made by Birmingham City Council in January.

Fears increase for the traditional and useful rules of English, and Allan Blaza of Pontefract Civic Society, accusing his local council of ducking its responsibility for maintain standards, said: "Im sufficiently rigorous when it comes to the English language, which is a magnificent language, to feel sure that all grammatical necessities not niceties should be observed."

Marie Clair of the Plain English Campaign commented: "All the feedback we have had suggests that people want to hold on to the apostrophe." She also said that the Ordnance Survey and Association of British Counties' Gazetteer of British Place Names were both happy to use apostrophes.

Ian Thompson, director for planning and property at Wakefield Council, defended the action, saying: "Apostrophes are generally used in street names as they can lead to problems and confusion when data is transferred electronically of other uses."

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