Posted tagged ‘apostrophe’

Beware of rogue apostrophe’s

July 18, 2011

Having spent a good bit of the past day travelling on planes, trains and automobiles, I cam across several notices which had experienced serious apostrophe attacks. Here are a few I saw.

Stand back from the platform: beware of train’s
Special offer: pastry’s and cake’s
South carriageway closed tonight due to roadwork’s
Lady’s [toilet]
Turn on car light’s

I have argued previously that it is time to retire the apostrophe. It has ceased to be useful, it’s just annoying now.

Too many apostrophe’s?

July 16, 2008

Today I received a formal document from a certain public body that had four incorrect uses of an apostrophe on a single page: “it’s” (when it should have been “its”); 1990’s (should be “1990s”); and two apostrophes in nouns which were intended to be plural rather than genitive. We have all got used to walking past signs in shops offering “tomato’s” and “potato’s”, but the inability to use the apostrophe correctly is now ubiquitous. A friend of mine remarked recently that the only obvious role of the apostrophe these days (or should that be “day’s”) is to declare: “alert, S approaching!”

Maybe we should face the fact that the apostrophe is a failed entity, and that it should be put beyond use. That would be better than the constant incorrect use to which it is now subjected. Other languages manage to do without it, so maybe English should, too.