Monday, February 2, 2009

In Defence of the Apostrophe

I am not happy, and my mood has nothing to do with my ill daughter (double ear infection, by the way), my sore shoulders, my query letter, the number of penalty flags in the Super Bowl, or the fact that I ate the last cookie. It has to do with the man on the left and this article right here:

It's a catastrophe for the apostrophe in Britain


Seems some Birmingham officials have been quietly removing apostrophes for some time now (like, before Buddy Holly's plane crash. Or should I say, before Buddy Hollys plane crash?). This would be okay if they were deleting them from signs like this, but they're not. They're removing grammatically correct apostrophes! You may be tempted to think this is a cost saving measure. After all, the world economy is about as stable as Amy Winehouse on a Saturday night, so it might be prudent to save a few pounds in any way possible. Not so. As explained by Councilor Martin Mullaney (aka "The Devil"):

"Apostrophes denote possessions that are no longer accurate, and are not needed," he said. "More importantly, they confuse people. If I want to go to a restaurant, I don't want to have an A-level (high school diploma) in English to find it."
Here's a crazy thought: If you think you need an "A-level (high school diploma) in English" (whatever the heck that means) to understand the intricacies of apostrophe usage, maybe you shouldn't be a flipping "councilor" in the first place.

Here's the problem: Let's say your child comes home from school tomorrow complaining about his math homework. Perhaps he is having trouble understanding how you go about adding fractions (and who wouldn't, right?). As a parent you would have a choice to make. You could help your child understand how to add fractions. Or, if you didn't know how yourself, you could find resources that would aid in your child's understanding of fraction addition. Or you could pull a Martin Mullaney and just decide the hell with adding fractions. It's too bloody confusing anyway, old chap. Let's do away with the lot of them.

Now most defenders of the apostrophe would vent a little on their blogs and that would be that. I am not most bloggers. In case you haven't heard, I'm an award winning blogger. And so I call on all my rabid devotees to stand up for truth, justice, and the apostrophe.

How? By using the power of the Webosphere. You see, Mr. Mullaney has a blog and he would love to hear from you. You can even read his "rationale" for murdering innocent apostrophes on there. (And okay, I may have left a few things out, but not much.) Feel free to write him. I did. Oh, and here's his email address: mullaney3@blueyonder.co.uk. Don't let one man, even if he might be Satan, rid the world (or at least Birmingham) of this useful punctuation mark. Long live the apostrophe in all its forms!


Blogger's note: In the event that Mr. Mullaney gets really mad at me and/or threatens a lawsuit, I hereby retract everything I wrote above.

10 comments:

Lily Cate said...

Really? Usually when I find missused apostrophes, they've been added unneccessarily. Taking them all away would probably cause more confusion than letting people sprinkle them around like splenda for the vocabulary.
It's really not rocket science, people.

Paul Michael Murphy said...

"splenda for the vocabulary"

Wish I'd thought of that.

Pink Ink said...

I tried to think up something clever like apostrophe words without apostrophes, but it reminded me of grammar class and gave me a migraine, so I decided to just say one thing:

Phooey.

LindaBudz said...

I share in your outrage. Thank you for bringing this to our attention.

As a fellow punctuationophile, if you haven't already checked it out, I encourage you to check out http://www.unnecessaryquotes.com/.

Anita said...

Long live the apostrophe!

Hey, your kid may have a double ear infection, but I've got one blowing chunks through her nose.

Carrie Harris said...

Man, I wonder what the apostrophe ever did to the Devil?

Now there's a good story idea if ever I heard one.

Kelly said...

Thank goodness it wasn't a war on parenthesis!

Paul Michael Murphy said...

Kelly, war will never be declared on parentheses because if it ever came that close, a terminator would be sent from the future to stop it from happening.

Paul Michael Murphy said...

Anita--that's gross.

Monica said...

My daughter's biggest pet peeve is the misuse of apostrophe's. (yes, a grammar nerd like her mother... bless her soul) lol