Apostrophe Wars, The Epilogue

It’s a dark, dark day for guardians of the English language or, as we are now regarded, archaic and irrelevant, nitpicking pedants. The Apostrophe Protection Society is pulling down its shutters. John Richards, the man who founded it in 2001, has admitted defeat. ‘Ignorance,’ he says, ‘and laziness have won.’

I’m glad that my husband, though still living, is no longer aware how far the rot has spread. He began his own sterling work in aid of the then already endangered apostrophe in 1996 and I was often at his side, dispensing vinyl apostrophes from a peel-off sheet, whenever he found a sign in need of punctuation. In one of his prouder moments he was warned off a second attempt at punctuating a sign outside Parkside police station in Cambridge. He was told he risked being charged with vandalism. Fortunately, as well as being an ardent advocate for the apostrophe, he was also a connoisseur of irony.

Some of his contributions to this worthy cause survived for years. As far as I’m aware this example, pictured with one of our granddaughters earlier this year, is now the lone survivor of his three year campaign that only ended because we moved to Italy, a country where apostrophes simply don’t exist.

What next? If the apostrophe, which makes clearer the meaning of a sentence, is now considered  dispensable, can the comma be far behind?  As demonstrated on a birthday card I received recently  –  Let’s eat Grandma? No, let’s eat, Grandma  – commas save lives.

Heck lets get rid of punctuation altogether no one has time for stuff like that dont know about you guys but were busy people


  1. Helen on January 15, 2020 at 12:59 am

    Ha ha, Laurie, this is fantastic! I am the Apostrophe Monitor at my workplace and carry a marker pen to make necessary adjustments (or adjustment’s as would probably be the case at my work – the marker pen can also be used to obliterate unnecessary apostrophes).
    I haven’t caught up with why you are now self-published but will work through your blog to find the history. Our local libraries here in Sydney, Australia don’t seem to carry your new books but I have been purchasing, when possible, from Book Depository. Will check out Dr.Dan parts 1&2………..

  2. Helen on February 20, 2020 at 6:43 am

    Hi, Australian Helen!
    Problem: I have been posting as Helen for a few years; could you slightly adapt your sign in name, perhaps, so there is no confusion? BTW I so agree with you about apostrophes.
    Cheers, Helen

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