Getting Irate So That You Don't Have To

Getting Irate So That You Don't Have To

Monday, 2 February 2009

Birmingham Council Bans Apostrophes

I see that Birmingham City Council has decided to abolish apostrophes from its road and street signs. Obviously simple punctuation is beyond them. So St. Paul's Square , which presumably has been St. Paul's Square for centuries, will become St Pauls Square, which doesn't actually make any sense.



Womble On Tour is quite passionate about grammar and punctuation, and tries to explain its importance to his children. He often spends time with them going through their homework to put right any mistakes (which the school doesn't tend to bother doing).

When a Council takes this kind of crass decision it makes the job of those who care about the English language all the harder. "What's the point in getting apostrophes right when councils don't bother ?" I can almost hear my kids saying already. "What's the point of apostrophes at all ? Why bother with any punctuation ?" Children should be set good examples on the use of English.

The Council's explanation of this move is lamentable. A spokesman pointed to the cost of changing the signs which are wrong - i.e. where there is no apostrophe, or where there is one but it's in the wrong place. In other words, these goons have been so lax for so long that it's more expensive to correct those signs than it it is make them all wrong. I'm pretty sure they'll have been another factor too; that the Council are worried that some people can't understand apostrophes, so they think they'd better come down to the lowest level of literacy.

Good to see the Apostrophe Protection Society fighting their corner. Their website appears to be down, or dead (or banned, most likely) but there's a little piece about them here.

1 comment:

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