Birmingham — the second largest city in England — is giving up on the apostrophe. All locations there that have used apostrophes in the past will now lose their apostrophes. For example, St. Paul’s Square will become St. Pauls Square. Read all about it here: “Its a catastrophe for the apostrophe in Britain” (AP, 1/31/2009) — and I assume the “its” in the title is meant to be humorous.
Grammarians are up in arms. Birmingham’s claim is that the apostrophes are confusing and old fashioned and that they give GPS programs fits. (Except the GPS people do not seem to agree and have had no complaints.)
Seems shady. Personally, apostrophes have never given me too much trouble. Commas next to quotation marks, however? Don’t get me started.
Banished from Birmingham. Wow. Where will they go? Will St. Mark’s Street or George’s Parade in nearby Wolverhampton become St. Mark”s Street and George””s Parade? Who will take in the poor homeless apostrophes fleeing from persecution in Birmingham?
If anyone sees anything in prophecy related to this apostrophic crisis, please feel free to pass it on. Whether you do so with tongue firmly planted in cheek is entirely up to you…
In the meantime, I feel inspired to add a rare poll: