PLANS by East Staffordshire Borough Council to leave out apostrophes in street signs have been branded ‘deplorable’ and ‘stupid’.
The council has confirmed that any new street signs which required the punctuation mark, simply would not have one. The reason? because the council’s computer system cannot recognise them.
This has caused outrage from people who are sticklers for the correct use of punctuation and the English language.
John Richards is the chairman of the Apostrophe Protection Society, which has a website where people can post pictures of badly written signs.
He is appalled at the news that street signs in Burton will be written incorrectly.
Mr Richards told the Mail: “I think it’s deplorable and stupid because the apostrophe is an essential part of the English language. If they are doing it because the computer can’t cope, they should change the computer.
“If you take away the apostrophe from St Paul’s, it really just means there are lots of St Pauls, when there is only one. If they insist on taking out the apostrophe, they need to make it Paul Road, without the ‘s.
Mr Richards, from Lincolnshire, said he thought that a lot of people would not care about the changes because they were either ignorant or apathetic: “People just aren’t bothering with the apostrophe. Waterstone’s removed the apostrophe and now it’s just Waterstones, which is meaningless.”
He added that bad use of grammar and punctuation was often seen in national newspapers and online, meaning the media were partly to blame for apostrophes being missed out or used incorrectly.
A council spokesman said: “East Staffordshire Borough Council does not use apostrophes when introducing new street names, but they have existing street names within the borough which historically have included them.
“The reason for the change is potential problems this could cause with records on databases. The use of apostrophes is inconsistent with BS 7666 which sets out the standard format for addressing properties.”