Goodbye Mr Apostrophe?

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Steve Sant's picture
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Joined: 14 Mar 2007 - 3:40pm
Goodbye Mr Apostrophe?
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I read in (my dad's) Telegraph this morning that some bright sparks want to eliminate the apostrophe. Particularly the possessive. It all started, apparently, with Birmingham city council in the UK deciding to drop it from all road signage in the city.

Thoughts?

I'll miss it!

Victor Curran's picture
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Joined: 31 Dec 2008 - 3:34pm
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Your dads telegraph? How many dads do you have?

Steve Sant's picture
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Joined: 14 Mar 2007 - 3:40pm
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indeed! Were all going to hell in a handcart!

Martin McCully's picture
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Joined: 8 Dec 2005 - 5:21am
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Well down here in Devon they seem to have never heard of the possessive, none of the road signs use them.
We have recently rebranded a local school and were over ruled by the board of governors on the use of the possessive in the logo, which we found amusing as the school was holding a spelling bee competition shortly after it reopened.

Victor Curran's picture
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Joined: 31 Dec 2008 - 3:34pm
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Oh, the apostrophe. Its a shame that some people dont appreciate its value. Well all miss it when its gone. Ill bet youre upset you spent all that money on your childrens education.

Steve Sant's picture
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Joined: 14 Mar 2007 - 3:40pm
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dogs dog dogs dogs dog

Who's doing what to whom?

Jan Schmoeger's picture
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Alessandro Segalini's picture
Joined: 5 Oct 2005 - 5:14pm
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I read it courtesy of Peter Stanbridge via Typo-L ; here is the NYT article.

Will Powers's picture
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Joined: 16 Jun 2005 - 10:32pm
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Plenty of people have lamented the disappearing possessive apostrophe. Nothing new there.

BUT . . . let's keep in mind that this lack may be offset by the far too frequent addition of an apostrophe where none is needed. Many folks think one is needed to make a noun plural. This sentence just came around in an internal e-mail:

"The Parking Booth will continue to be staffed on Monday’s."

So perhaps the world supply of apostrophes will remain stable thanks to both correct and incorrect use.

powers

Steve Sant's picture
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Joined: 14 Mar 2007 - 3:40pm
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I'm certainly no authority on latin, and I'm curious... should that be the supply of apostrophi? Technically incorrect I'm sure, but it sounds good :)

Victor Curran's picture
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Joined: 31 Dec 2008 - 3:34pm
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I think apostrophe is Greek, like ephemera. I once saw an article (in the Chronicle of Higher Education, no less) that used the word ephemerae, thus affixing a bogus Latin plural ending to a Greek word that was already plural.

Charles Ellertson's picture
Joined: 3 Nov 2004 - 11:00am
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Speaking of oddities -- and correct me if I'm wrong -- but those of us who use English are accustomed to words of Greek origin with an "f" sound being spelled with a "ph". As in 'philosophy'. Now the Germanic languages allow an "f" in these words. But why a mix, as in filosophy?

Jesse Burgheimer's picture
Joined: 12 Aug 2003 - 4:46pm
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What's interesting is how a company's use of an apostrophe use will tilt in either direction, without regard to context or distinction. McDonald's and Walgreens are both giant corporations, yet McDonald's kept theirs while Walgreens did not.

Chad Kent's picture
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Joined: 29 Jan 2009 - 4:49pm
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I would miss it as well. Found this informative, if not sadly designed site (apparently, punctuation is patriotic):

http://www.nationalpunctuationday.com/

They list at least one example of how important a comma can be:

It’s also a day to remind business people that poor punctuation can cost your business millions of dollars.

Rogers Communications, for example, one of Canada’s largest telecommunications companies, learned the hard way just how important proper punctuation could be, when an attorney misplaced a comma in a contract with a company that agreed to lay Rogers’s cables across the Maritimes. A Canadian court said ignorance of correct punctuation was no excuse and invalidated what was believed to be an ironclad five-year contract. That errant squiggle alone cost Rogers $2.13 million. There’s a link to the newspaper article about this case below.

The power of punctuation!

Victor Curran's picture
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Joined: 31 Dec 2008 - 3:34pm
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I wonder if there's any significance to the fact that National Punctuation Day is 5 days after [[http://www.talklikeapirate.com/piratehome.html|Talk Like a Pirate Day]].

Chad Kent's picture
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Joined: 29 Jan 2009 - 4:49pm
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=) There's got to be some link!

With names like:

"Cap'n Slappy and Ol' Chumbucket spent Talk Like A Pirate Day 2008 in Philadelphia as…"

I think you're on to something…those two would be looking for new names without the good 'ol apostrophe.

Raymond Kingston's picture
Joined: 4 Sep 2006 - 12:28am
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Case in point: I think you mean good ol'...

Raymond Kingston's picture
Joined: 4 Sep 2006 - 12:28am
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Apostrophe misuse drives me nuts, but just think: if they do away with the great apostrophe, all those well-educated high-schoolers who paint Class of "09" (or '09' / 09' / 09") on their cars will be that much better off.

Chad Kent's picture
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Joined: 29 Jan 2009 - 4:49pm
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Case in point: I think you mean good ol’...

Busted! I'm definitely guilty of abuse and misuse of a few apostrophes. My apologies.

Full disclosure: I lost the 5th grade spelling bee by misspelling "it's"…so this has been with me a long time =)

kaujot's picture
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Joined: 1 Jan 2009 - 1:00pm
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5th grade and a spelling bee word was it's? Really?

Juan M. Guerra Jr.'s picture
Joined: 7 Oct 2008 - 1:31pm
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Guerrizmo+Design

Chad Kent's picture
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Joined: 29 Jan 2009 - 4:49pm
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>5th grade and a spelling bee word was it’s? Really?

Pretty sad, I know…they must have viewed it as trick question…it still burns a little.

Ricardo Cordoba's picture
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Joined: 6 Jun 2005 - 6:57pm
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Whilewereatit,letsgetridofwordspacestoo!Theyjusttakeup...space,asitwere.

NOWAIT...IKNOW!LETSDOAWAYWITHTHOSEPESKYMINUSCULESTOO!YEAH!!!

Jan Schmoeger's picture
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Joined: 12 Dec 2008 - 5:39am
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Ricardo, did you come across Iain M. Banks and his novel FEERSUM ENDJINN? If not, you might enjoy it ...

Ricardo Cordoba's picture
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Joined: 6 Jun 2005 - 6:57pm
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Just looked it up, paragraph -- thanks for the tip! Looks "innaresting". ;-)