Monday, July 27, 2009

In Praise Of Apostrophes

In my early days, I found apostrophes confusing and their usage deeply frustrating.
The dear ol' nuns must have prayed hard for my grammatical redemption because one day it all just clicked: I morphed into a grammar Nazi who'd return emails with errors highlighted, and howl derisively at signs advertising VIDEO'S.
Over the years I've been urged to "let it go" - generally by those without as firm a grip on punctuation skills. I thought that was just part of New Zealand's sad and inexorable slide into the mire of the world's worst language butchery: when the weather is described as "foin und moild in Wullintun" (that's "fine and mild in Wellington"!), you know you're in heartland New Zulin. And when shops have SALE'S, how illiterate we must appear to the rest of the world.
But wait: we are not alone! Thi's erroneou's use of apostrophe's ha's become a planet-wide pandemic! (OMG! Another pandemic!!) It seem's there's not only a global glitch in the correct use of apostrophe's but also comma's, colon's and virtually any punctuation mark's' that could help turn a string of word's into a fluent sentence.
On-line, you'll find The Apostrophe Protection Society and Apostrophe Abuse bemoaning the maltreatment of the beloved apostrophe.
In this texting age, I wonder if the demise of ALL punctuation is imminent. Those who've suggested I "let it go" also tried to persuade me this was normal linguistic evolution, and queried whether I wanted to be righteously correct but all alone on a desert island amid an ocean of 'linguistically modified' people.
My answer? Ye's!

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