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Correct Grammar?….Not in Mid-Devon!

Posted by Boghound on March 24, 2013


Council bans apostrophes from all street signs to avoid ‘confusion’

A council has sparked fury from residents after banning apostrophes from street signs to avoid potential confusion.

Mid-Devon District Council said its new streets had not contained apostrophes for many years but the policy was now being made official.

Residents and plain English campaigners criticised the move, but the council said apostrophes could only be found in three street names in the district.

It added that Beck’s Square and Blundell’s Avenue both in Tiverton and St George’s Well in Cullompton were all named many years ago.

Andrew Lacey, of Mid-Devon District Council, said there was no national guidance that stops apostrophes being used.

But proofreader Mary de Vere Taylor from Ashburton said the thought of apostrophes being removed made her shudder.

"It’s almost as though somebody with a giant eraser is literally trying to erase punctuation from our consciousness," she said.

"To me there’s something terribly British and terribly reassuring about well-written and well-punctuated writing.

"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."

Ms de Vere Taylor said while she accepted language had to evolve, she felt the council’s decision was a backwards step.

Steve Jenner from the Plain English Campaign said punctuation including the apostrophe was one of the basic rules of language. The council’s decision as "nonsensical", he said.

Mid-Devon Council declined to comment further and did not elaborate on who might be confused by the use of correct punctuation.

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