Apostrophe society shuts down because ‘ignorance and laziness have won’

A society dedicated to preserving the correct use of the apostrophe, which ran for almost two decades, has shut down because “ignorance has won”. 

The Apostrophe Protection Society was founded in 2001 by retired journalist John Richards, who is now 96 years old. The society’s aim was to make sure the “much-abused” punctuation mark was being used correctly.

But Mr. Richards has now announced: “With regret, I have to announce that, after some 18 years, I have decided to close the Apostrophe Protection Society.” He adds: “There are two reasons for this. One is that at 96 I am cutting back on my commitments and the second is that fewer organizations and individuals are now caring about the correct use of the apostrophe in the English Language.”

A street sign in Tiverton, Devon, which is missing an apostrophe

The frustrated apostrophe defender complains that while “we, and our many supporters worldwide, have done our best but the ignorance and laziness present in modern times have won.”

Seeing the apostrophe being butchered on the Internet over and over again has led Mr. Richards to start the apostrophe society. He hoped he would find the support of half a dozen people who felt the same way.

“I didn’t find half a dozen people,” he wrote on his website. “Instead, within a month of my plaint appearing in a national newspaper, I received over 500 letters of support, not only from all corners of the United Kingdom, but also from America, Australia, France, Sweden, Hong Kong and Canada.”

Mr. Richards list three simple rules on his website for the correct use of the apostrophe: They are used to indicate a missing letter or letters, they are used to indicate possession and they are never ever used for plurals.

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