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Anorak | Devon abolishes the apostrophe – sticklers for good English take their markers

Devon abolishes the apostrophe – sticklers for good English take their markers

by | 16th, March 2013

apostrophe devon

MID-Devon District Council has abolished the apostrophe from all new street names. This will  “avoid potential confusion”. It does not say who might be confused.

Tiverton’s Beck’s Square and Blundell’s Avenue, and Cullompton’s St George’s Well were “all named many, many years ago”, and can retain their apostrophes. But new street names will not feature the grammar. 

Andrew Lacey, from the council, says there is “no national guidance that stops apostrophes being used”. 

Mary de Vere Taylor from Ashburton is most unhappy. She tells the BBC:

“It’s almost as though somebody with a giant eraser is literally trying to erase punctuation from our consciousness… Some may say I should get a life and get out more, but if I got out more and saw place names with no apostrophes where there should be, I shudder to think how I’d react.”

One would hazard to guess, with a marker pen, literally.

The protectors of the language say this goes to the heart of national identity. Steve Jenner, from the Plain English Campaign, says the apostrophe is one of the basic rules of language. Mary de Vere Taylor says

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