I was listening to BBC Radio 2’s News this morning and my heart sank when they reported that Cambridge City Council has decided to drop apostrophes from street names around the city.

How ridiculous is this??!!

Cambridge, that centre of educational excellence. dropping one of the most important and essential grammatical icons in the English Language? It should be ashamed of such a stupid decision.

For the full article, go to “Apostrophe catastrophe as Cambridge City Council bans punctuation from new street names” on the Cambridge News website.

In the article, Kathy Salaman, director of Longstanton-based Good Grammar Company says “If councils are getting rid of them, what kind of message does that give out to students at schools? Dropping apostrophes is pandering to the lowest denominator and while eradicating them anywhere is dreadful, it is particularly bad to do it in Cambridge.

This move will only confuse people, especially with children still being taught the use of apostrophes in school grammar lessons, who will suddenly find that what was drilled into them at school is being completely disregarded.

And also “Cllr John Hipkin, who represents Castle and was formerly head of English at Meridian School in Royston, said: ‘Punctuation serves a valuable purpose – it helps to convey meaning more precisely and anything which erodes the precision of the English language is to be deplored. This is a regrettable erosion of the quality of the English language and such a departure in a city as highly educated as Cambridge is even more regrettable.’

Read more at http://www.cambridge-news.co.uk/Cambridge/Apostrophe-catastrophe-as-Cambridge-City-Council-bans-punctuation-from-new-street-names-20140117060000.htm#ixzz2ql83a2pe

They really seem to be trying to dumb down the English language, which already seems to be in trouble, with the large amount of grammar-ignorant Internet users which i’ve come across in the last few years just butchering it.

It just seems a bit silly that the majority of the street names in Cambridge will have punctuation in them, while the few new ones which are created will not have any punctuation in them. How messy will that look on maps?! I suppose if you’re going to do away with punctuation in street names, you may as do it with ALL of them while you’re at it! But it’s still wrong.

No other city has chosen to do this, as far as i know, so are they just trying to make themselves look stupid/different, give themselves more publicity (any kind of publicity is still publicity) or do they genuinely see this idea workingand possibly spreading to other cities? Who knows?

What is an Apostrophe?

To be fair, it seems like some people still don’t know the proper use of apostrophes (and also many other types of grammatical terms and punctuation).

If you don’t know, then look at this website for more information (ironically i’ve chosen Oxford Dictionaries for this task!): http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/words/apostrophe

Basically, the apostrophe either signifies possession or omission.


You use an apostrophe to show that a thing or person belongs or relates to someone or something: instead of saying the party of Ben or the weather of yesterday, you can write Ben’s party and yesterday’s weather.”

Taken from http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/words/apostrophe


An apostrophe can be used to show that letters or numbers have been omitted. Here are some examples of apostrophes that indicate missing letters:

I’m – short for I am

he’ll – short for he will

she’d – short for she had or she would

pick n’ mix – short for pick and mix

it’s hot – short for it is hot

didn’t – short for did not

Taken from http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/words/apostrophe

What do you think of this idea? Is it totally stupid, or does it have some sort of sense?


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