I’ve recently started working on a project in which apostrophes are second-class citizens. In communications, they crop up where they shouldn’t, and they are distinctly lacking where they rightfully belong. The apostrophisation (Look it up! Actually, please don’t) or otherwise of its is a lottery, seemingly unconnected with context; an agenda is pluralised with an errant apostrophe, yet people in possession of stuff are merely pluralised.

Maybe my concern of 1998 that the apostrophe is a dying punctuation mark is coming true. But maybe not, given that it’s cropping up in places it shouldn’t. Hopefully my voting it one of the seven wonders of the modern world two years back will keep its profile sufficiently high to fight off its mis-use, and promote its place in our documents, below the @ sign on our UK keyboards, and below the in the US. Long may it reign.

Posted by Dan, 1 May, 2008 under Grammar | Life


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