Who cares about S & P?

It’s obvious spelling and punctuation have gone to the dogs, but does anyone care? And should they? Experts tell us that language has changed over the years and, if true, why bother about the rules of spelling and punctuation?

We’ve all seen the signs which flaunt the wrong use of the apostrophe.

Toilet’s
Banana’s $2 kilo
Access restricted Saturday’s only
No food or drink’s allowed
Professional Sign’s (my favourite)
City Leader Hit’s Back on Crime

In my series of kids’ books about the Schoolboy Sherlock Holmes, young Nicholas invents a series of words called Twit Speak. In his collection is tadbe, an acronym for the apostrophe deserves better. When he meets someone who incorrectly uses the apostrophe, Nick remembers them as a tadbe. It helps him solve mysteries.

To me, the crazy aspect of the misuse of the apostrophe is so unnecessary. The rules are few and simple.

Possession – Tom’s bike
Contraction – won’t (will not)

In a nutshell, that’s it. But there are potential traps. If you don’t use the apostrophe on some contractions, you’ll be using another word because won’t and wont have different meanings.

Plural possession needs attention. There is a difference between kid’s and kids’. The apostrophe at the end of the word means plural or more than one kid. And some disagree when a name ends in an s; some argue the apostrophe doesn’t need another s. Some use it, some don’t – Sherlock Holmes’ hat or Sherlock Holmes’s hat.

You could teach someone the rules of the apostrophe in next to no time. And you can read about tadbes under Books and Children on this web site.

For further information about the apostrophe, visit http://www.apostrophe.org.uk/

Cenarth Fox

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