Does a misplaced or missing apostrophe matter?
At Deep, we think it does, but the announcement by the Apostrophe Protection Society that it’s giving up its campaign to promote the proper use of the apostrophe seems to indicate we’re in something of a minority.
According to a story on the BBC, as he threw in the towel, the organisation’s frustrated founder John Richards said: “We have done our best but the ignorance and laziness present in modern times have won.”
He may be right, but here at Deep, we’re going to continue to do our bit to try and keep this humble, multi-purpose punctuation mark from becoming totally extinct. The handy, tadpole-like symbol can be used to form possessives and contractions. It can even – though very rarely – be used to make something plural
But there’s a lot of confusion over how to use the apostrophe correctly. One of the most common usage mistakes is the grocer’s apostrophe: the unnecessary addition of an apostrophe to form the plural of a noun – as in ‘fresh pea’s and bean’s for sale’. But there are plenty of other ways the rules can catch people out. Start looking, and it won’t be long before you find examples of apostrophes not being where they should be – or missing completely!
Interestingly, since news of the impending demise of the Apostrophe Protection Society broke, traffic to its website increased 600-fold. Perhaps it’s not too late to hope the apostrophe might yet enjoy a renaissance. Click here if you’d like to brush up on your own use of the apostrophe.
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