Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Are Apostrophes Necessary?

There’s nothing like an old-fashioned grammar nerd debate.  This one, at Slate, is over apostrophes and whether they remain necessary. 

On one side of the debate are John Richards, the founder of the Apostrophe Protection Society (yes-there is such an organization), and Lynne Truss, of Eats, Shoots & Leaves fame, who has stated: “Getting your itses mixed up is the greatest solecism in the world of punctuation.  No matter that you have a Ph.D. and have read all of Henry James twice. If you still persist in writing, ‘Good food at it’s best,’ you deserve to be struck by lightning, hacked up on the spot and buried in an unmarked grave.”

On the other side—George Bernard Shaw, teenagers everywhere, and the creators of the Kill the Apostrophe website (yes—it too exists), who believe the apostrophe “serves only to annoy those who know how it is supposed to be used and to confuse those who dont.” (Note the intentional removal of the apostrophe from “don’t.”)  

Needless to say, I—like every other legal writing professor I know—think apostrophes are necessary.  The whole story is worth a read.

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