‘Out, damn’d spot!’ say U.K. city councils

Apostrophe abolishers have their say—and their way—in the U.K.

Apostrophe abolishers have their say—and their way—in the U.K

Here’s a novel solution to your niggling punctuation dilemmas: When in doubt, throw it out.

That’s the fate of the humble apostrophe in Birmingham, U.K. It seems the little symbol’s proper usage was too much for the Birmingham City Council to deal with, so they’ve decided to abolish it.

This is the same council who produced a visitors’ brochure with a sumptuous aerial photo of the city on the cover. It was Birmingham all right. Birmingham, Alabama. The council dismissed the photo swap, explaining that the intent was to depict a city, not necessarily their city.

It’s tough to compete with brainpower like that.

And it may be tough to go about your normal business in that city, now that its signage and databases are being stripped of their possessives. So now St. Paul’s Square is St. Pauls Square, making it appear as though there were two or more saints so named and thusly honored. D’Arcy Avenue becomes the curiously capitalized DArcy Avenue. And if your name is O’Dell, oh well.

To read the full story, log in.
Become a Ragan Insider member to read this article and all other archived content.
Sign up today

Already a member? Log in here.
Learn more about Ragan Insider.