Should we kill off the apostrophe?

It’s not the fault of those who can’t get it right, say a band of reformers who insist the oft-misplaced punctuation mark is just silly.

Take it from Bob the Angry Flower: Decades out of elementary school, people still can’t seem to keep their apostrophes straight.

In a cartoon by Canadian artist Stephen Notley, the hothouse hothead rants about “morons” who pluralize with apostrophes, as in: “All the cat’s are out of the bag.”


But what if the apostrophe is passé, a needless burden on schoolchildren, on grocers who frown in bafflement as they mark down the prices on blackening “banana’s,” and on a restaurateur in Falls Church, Va., who closed up shop on “Christma’s Day.”

John Wells, emeritus professor of phonetics at University College London, calls the apostrophe a waste of time. Most of them—particularly possessives—could be abolished, he says. He’s not calling for a free-for-all, just a rationalization of the rules.

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