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"These are the days when the Christian is expected to praise every creed except his own." G.K.Chesterton

"You cannot grow a beard in a moment of passion." G.K.Chesterton

"As you perhaps know, I haven't always been a Christian. I didn't go to religion to make me happy. I always knew a bottle of Port would do that."C. S. Lewis

"I blog, therefore I am." Anon

Monday, July 07, 2003

the Apostrophe Catastrophe

Over at Catallaxy Files Andrew Norton laments the Apostrophe Catastrophe. The flagrant and increasingly widespread misuse and abuse of the apostrophe to designate plurals is a personal pet peeve of mine so I heartily endorse Andrew's desire to gatecrash the Australian Association for the Teaching of English, currently in conference at the University of Melbourne, to tell them what a lousy job they are doing. Not that they care...

Anyone familiar with the current status of English teaching in Australia and most of the Western world already knows that English is not really about minor matters like spelling, grammar or punctuation but rather is concerned with the more important broader socio-political issues of deconstruction, gender and racial identity, and marxist ideology.

Andrew writes:
When I was growing up, only Italian greengrocers thought that plurals required apostrophes (banana’s 50c, etc). Even when I was teaching uni students 10 years ago plurals weren’t a problem. Sure, there were some apostrophe problems, with its/it’s causing confusion. But nobody thought plural’s (sic) required apostrophe’s (sic again). Now correctly creating plurals baffles a very large number of the under 30s.

Andrew is shocked that even journalism students are now thoroughly confused about apostrophes. He writes: "This is just stunning – people who want to be professional writers don’t know a simple rule they should have learnt in primary school." I would suggest to Andrew that this is because many of the current generation of English teachers haven't got a clue either. But, never mind, they know an awful lot about literary and critical theory...

8:17:00 pm