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.”
“NO!” Bob bellows. “TOTALLY WRONG! WHERE’D YOU LEARN THIS? STOP DOING IT!”
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.