First of all, thanks to everyone who sent me this story. It’s become quite a popular news item!
The city of Birmingham, England, has done the unthinkable: they’ve banned apostrophes.
On the streets of Birmingham, the queen’s English is now the queens English.
England’s second-largest city has decided to drop apostrophes from all its street signs, saying they’re confusing and old-fashioned.
But some purists are downright possessive about the punctuation mark.
It seems that Birmingham officials have been taking a hammer to grammar for years, quietly dropping apostrophes from street signs since the 1950s. Through the decades, residents have frequently launched spirited campaigns to restore the missing punctuation to signs denoting such places as “St. Pauls Square” or “Acocks Green.”
This week, the council made it official, saying it was banning the punctuation mark from signs in a bid to end the dispute once and for all.
It hurts my head and heart to read this.
The story goes on to talk about how some of the possessions signified by the apostrophe no longer exist, and that they should not be restored for that reason. Kings Cross is no longer owned by the king, for example.
Let me say something.
I’ve said it time and time again: I hate it when people take the easy way out when it comes to grammar and spelling. If everybody did that, can you imagine the state of writing this day? It’s bad enough as it is! (Caesars Palace comes to mind yet again…)
We can’t keep dumbing down our society to benefit the uneducated. If we did that in all aspects of our lives, there would be no more quality literature. Hell, Rob Schneider movies would be up for Oscars.
Birmingham, I really hope you think about exactly what you’re doing here.