So, a few years ago, Waterstone’s decided to get rid of its possessive apostrophe in order to become Waterstones. According to an article in The Telegraph, the decision provoked ‘outrage’. Outrage along the lines of this:
Waterstone’s (or rather, Waterstones) justified the decision by saying the apostrophe-free spelling is more ‘versatile’ and suited to modern URLs. Here’s The Telegraph on the subject, and you can find a smart article from The Guardian here.
The Kill The Apostrophe campaign puts forward a rather convincing argument here. The Apostrophe Protection Society make a similarly persuasive case here. A couple of items in The Telegraph: one on a council abolishing apostrophes on its signs; the other by Christopher Howse arguing that we perhaps take it a little too seriously.
You may have noticed Land’s End (or is it Lands’ End? Or Lands End?) in the news recently after Cornwall Council decided it needed its apostrophe after all.
No language debate would be complete without a contribution from our resident deity Mr Crystal, debating apostrophes with none other than Paxo on Newsnight…
And here’s Crystal again on the Waterstones/Waterstone’s furore. And let’s not forget you can’t go wrong with a bit of Lynne Truss, who explores the history and current use of the apostrophe in the first episode of her Cutting a Dash series, which you can listen to below:
At the bottom of this post, you’ll find Dr Julia Gillen in an article taken (surprisingly enough) from The Sun, as well as a perceptive and well-informed article from eMagazine.
When you’ve had a look at all of the texts to which I’ve linked, I’d like you to to answer the following question in the comments sections of this post: Should we abolish the apostrophe?
- You should aim to write 200-300 words, and support your point of view with careful argument.
- You should make reference to the arguments presented in the clips/texts linked to in this post.
- Oh, and if you’re still struggling with apostrophe usage yourself, you could do a lot worse than this site to brush up. After all, Crystal may not judge you – but I certainly will.