Birmingham puts a full stop to all that commatose, sorry, comatose punctuation.Updated: Feb 02, 2009, 11:34 IST
The city Council of Birmingham has decided to take the hammer to grammar, after much fluctuation on the use of punctuation marks in street signs. Banishing the apostrophe from signs for St Pauls Square and Kings Norton has earned it the ire of grammarians and finicky residents alike.
Punctuation pedants have found support in the Apostrophe Protection Society that has dubbed the omission a ‘dumbing down’ of the English language, insisting that the move might cause an existential crisis in children learning about the wonders of the written word. Those with their finger on the panic button are being convinced that losing the apostrophe would, for example, help the emergency services find their way, unfettered by punctuation. One might wonder whether the Brits are getting too obsessive about the possessive, or if the move could really spell an apostrophic end to the English language as we know it? Well, blurring the thin line between the plural and the possessive might roundly upset the likes of St Paul for having to share his square with a bunch of others. Or the King who must share his Norton with a long line of non-consanguinal monarchs.
As for edit page writer’s, ever-vigilant against that wayward beast, its demise could definitely spell good new’s. And for all our competitors out there, the next time they claim “We’re number one,” we humbly advise our readers to ignore that nasty apostrophe and set the language free.