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We’ll keep fighting for the well-placed apostrophe | Letter | Education


The passing of the Apostrophe Preservation Society (Report, 2 December) is deeply regretted by the Queen’s English Society. We will carry on the fight for clear, accurate English, including correct punctuation, grammar, spelling and word-choice.

The apostrophe helps us to distinguish between the general (The ships’ faults were lethal) and the specific (The ship’s faults were lethal), between the plural (boys) and the possessive (boy’s, boys’), and can even change a noun into a verb, with a change in meaning. In the headline, Briton’s battle fatigue, one Briton has tiredness from a battle. In Britons battle fatigue, more than one Briton is fighting tiredness from some cause. We need the apostrophe to tell it’s (it is or it has) from its (possessive pronoun). The apostrophe is essential, easy to use and to teach. Long may it live.
Dr Bernard Lamb
President, the Queen’s English Society, London

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