Birmingham Council has recently voted to abolish the possessive apostrophe from place names, arguing that it is no longer relevant or necessary. You can read the report in the Times here.
This has sparked an enormous row between people who care about the intricacies of the English language, (like the Apostrophe Protection Society), and those who do not, like Birmingham City Council.
In the middle of this debate are those websites like Apostrophe Abuse , who just revel in the general lack of understanding shown pretty much everywhere, on how to use apostrophes correctly.
If you’re confident in your apostrephability you can test your skills on a BBC website here.
Is there any point to a punctuation mark most people cannot use correctly or effectively? Headwaters Holidays or Headwater’s Holidays?
A contentious issue indeed, and one to ponder. There are no easy answers.
In the meantime Birmingham City Council, pioneers in the abolition of an integral part of the English language, can take heart from the following accumulated wisdom.
“You can recognise a pioneer by the arrows in his back”.
“If you want to make enemies, try and change something”.