Monday, July 27, 2009

Save the Apostrophe

So what do you guys all think, to apostrophe or not to apostrophe, eh? That is a question some are grappling with across the country. Apparently, apostrophes are disappearing from names and places all over the nation. The feds discourage the use of the punctuation in place names and the U.S. Geological Survey's Board on Geographical Names has held a non-use policy for over one hundred years according to my local, and not very accurate, newspaper. I did not bother to pursue additional sources.
However, I think it's kind of silly to have apostrophes and not use them. There is a clear difference in meaning, in the English language, between a word ending in S with an apostrophe and one without. Leaving out the apostrophe changes the whole meaning behind a place. The examples given in my paper were Pike's Peak in NH and Henry's Fork in CO. Both of these places were named after people. Hence the possessive apostrophe. Take it away and the meaning is lost and it's just a word for a place now. I suppose one could argue that Pike and Henry "discovered" areas which were already inhabited and had names and therefore why should they be honored at all? I agree, but since the names aren't changing altogether shouldn't we just use the crappy name correctly?
Is the government lazy, stupid, cheap? All of the aforementioned? Doesn't such a policy set a precedent of laziness and a blase attitude regarding punctuation? How can we require our children to adhere to the expectations of standardized testing if our own government can't even uphold those standards?
I think the loss of the apostrophe is a great analogy for the general loss of thoughtfulness and integrity in the United States. It's all about what is easy, less expensive, and fast. It has nothing to do with quality, attention to detail, or what's right. Don't get me wrong, there are a lot of awesome things that have come with the advent of technology and the expectation of speed which arrives beside it. I just don't think we need to sacrifice quality in exchange for profits. It will come back to haunt us.

I don't want to fuck up my reputation with all those Anons who scroll these pages and rely on my obsession with drugs and nothing else, so........Drugs, drugs, drugs, I love em'.


Jeannie said...

Proper punctuation is as important as proper spelling. But some people are stupid and drop the apostrophe when entering it into computers (or the computer program isn't designed to accept it) and that makes it hard for people to retrieve the information. Since my last name has an apostrophe, I'm in favour of keeping them. But with geeks who don't care about spelling in charge of programming, I don't think we'll win.

Sarcastic Bastard said...

As an English Lit graduate, I agree with you. The kids are getting to have appalling grammar skills due to the damn cell phones and all the texting. I find it frightening and yes, lazy. I will use apostrophes whatever they decide.

It would be ironic (and quite possible) if I made a grammar or spelling mistake in this response.



Nellie said...

Thanks you guys, I always get the most thoughtful responses from you. I, too, was worried about making a spelling and/or grammar mistake in my post. I checked it probably three times. I even made sure I used the word analogy correctly for fear I had mistaken it with metaphor. I'm very happy to know that some will stand behind the apostrophe!

Anonymous said...


Sarcastic Bastard said...

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