Whats the point of the apostrophe?

apostrophe1

If you understood the title of this blog post (and hopefully you didnt have too much trouble), it raises a potentially earth-shattering question – whats the point of the apostrophe?

Is it an indispensible part of the English language, or something we can live without?

Id argue its the latter. 

Perplexing punctuation

Apostrophe usage is certainly a topic that stirs the passions (if you dont believe me, check out this beautiful website).

And as a copywriter, Id probably be expected to defend this controversial punctuation mark to the death.

But the truth is it doesnt bother me – or confuse me – when apostrophes are used incorrectly.

So I think its time to get rid of them.

Here are a few reasons why:

  • Its pointless

How often does incorrect apostrophe usage lead to genuine misunderstandings? In reality, theyre usually unnecessary.

  • Its distracting

All the apostrophe seems to do is frustrate and annoy the people that know how it should be used, while confusing those who dont.

  • Its not suited to modern technology

Apostrophes are often difficult to find on smartphones. And, when combined with predictive text software, youve got a perfect storm of apostrophe chaos and confusion.

Exceptions to the rule

There are, of course, some cases where apostrophes are helpful.

The plural possessive (‘my friend’s friends’ vs ‘my friends’ friends’, for example) allows us to communicate subtle differences in the possessive case. And some contractions – like he’ll and we’re – could be confusing without apostrophetic intervention.

But the context of the sentence will almost always make the meaning clear.

So in conclusion, I think its time to say farewell to the apostrophe.

And I hope youve been persuaded by my meticulous and exhaustive apostrophe analysis.

But more importantly

You got to the end of the post and it all made sense?

Then I rest my case…

One thought on “Whats the point of the apostrophe?

  1. Don’t rest your case just yet. Talk me through ‘my friend’s friends’ vs ‘my friends’ friends’. Do you actually mean “my friend’s friends” vs “my friends’ friends”? Maybe it’s ok not to use certain types of punctuation if you don’t know how to use them, in which case I’ll stop using semi-colons.

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